Presentation at the 2008 Active Living Research Annual Conference
The prevalence of overweight among children has doubled in the last twenty years, and rates are highest among minority populations. Since overweight tracks over time, the epidemic of overweight children will eventually result in larger increases in adult obesity. This trend is relevant in Texas, since childhood overweight is higher than the national average coupled with the relatively young age distribution of minority populations. In 2001, the Texas state legislature passed Senate Bill 19 (SB19), requiring public elementary school children (K-6) to participate in 30 minutes of daily physical activity or 135 minutes per week. SB19 also requires elementary schools to be trained in and to implement an approved coordinated school health program (CSHP) by September 1, 2007. Unfortunately, there was no plan or funding for evaluation of SB19.
The primary objective of this study is to monitor implementation of SB19 among elementary schools in Texas. Further, we intend to measure impact of SB19 on children in schools on the Texas/Mexico border, those heavily populated with poor and Hispanic families.
We contacted 169 randomly selected and state representative schools via the phone and queried compliance with SB19. To directly assess compliance and impact of SB19, among Texas-Mexico border schools, we conducted: a) 21 on-site interviews, b) 24 direct observation of physical education using SOFIT protocol, c) 127 teacher surveys, and d) 1,226 student surveys, including height and weight.
Response rates were high, > 90%. Among the statewide sample, schools nearly all were aware of SB19 requirements, 75% had a district school health advisory committee (SHAC), 34% had a school level SHAC. The school SHAC was composed of PE teachers (87%), classroom teachers (64%), school administrators (60%), school food service (56%), nurse (42%), parent (42%). The average minutes of PA per week was > 150, in excess of requirement and this was largely met via PE time. 56% reported adopting a CSHP program, mostly the CATCH program. Direct observation and teacher interviews with schools on border supported telephone survey results. MVPA of PE time was > 50%. Teachers reported a number of challenges meeting the PA requirements and significant barriers implementing CSHP, notably: lack of funding, not high priority, and disappointing parent interest in healthy diet and PA. Student data at this writing have not been processed, but we will comment on BMI and other diet and PA measures at the time of the meeting.
Schools appear to be in compliance with most requirements of SB19, yet struggle with competing, higher non-health academic objectives. Border elementary schools exceeded the HP 2010 recommendation of 50% MVPA PA for PE classes. Next analytic steps are to compare in-and out-of compliance schools on BMI, diet, PA and other relevant indicators. These analyses are underway and will be presented.
Robert Wood Johnson via Active Living Research and by NIH Center for Minority Health Disparities