Schools

Show on Home Page: 
Yes

Schools play a critical role in helping children lead active, healthy lives. Recess, PE classes, after-school programs, and walking or biking to and from school all have the potential to get kids moving. Research shows that kids who move more aren’t just healthier, they also tend to do better academically, behave better in class and miss fewer days of school.  Unfortunately, many schools do not offer enough opportunities for children to be active. Policy-makers, teachers and parents can use research on the benefits of school physical activity to advocate for programs and policies that help children be active before, during and after school.

Download our Schools-related Resources Sheet for the best evidence available about a variety of school-based strategies for promoting physical activity.

You can also view and download our The Role of Schools in Promoting Physical Activity infographic.

Show on Audience Block: 
Yes
Topic Image: 
Show on About Page: 
Yes

Liability Concerns and Shared Use of School Recreational Facilities in Underserved Communities

title-long: 
Liability Concerns and Shared Use of School Recreational Facilities in Underserved Communities
Description: 

Spengler, J.O., Connaughton, D.P., & Maddock, J.E. (2011). Liability Concerns and Shared Use of School Recreational Facilities in Underserved Communities. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 41(4), 415-420.

Date: 
10/01/2011
Funding Source: 
Funding by the Active Living Research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Abstract: 

BACKGROUND: In underserved communities, schools can provide the physical structure and facilities for informal and formal recreation as well as after-school, weekend, and summer programming. The importance of community access to schools is acknowledged by authoritative groups; however, fear of liability is believed to be a key barrier to community access. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate perceptions of liability risk and associated issues among school administrators in underserved communities. METHODS: A national survey of school administrators in underserved communities (n=360, response rate of 21%) was conducted in 2009 and analyzed in 2010. Liability perceptions in the context of community access were assessed through descriptive statistics. RESULTS: The majority of respondents (82.2%) indicated concern for liability should someone be injured on school property after hours while participating in a recreational activity. Among those that did not allow community access, 91% were somewhat to very concerned about liability and 86% believed that stronger legislation was needed to better protect schools from liability for after-hours recreational use. Among those who claimed familiarity with a state law that offered them limited liability protection, nearly three fourths were nevertheless concerned about liability. CONCLUSIONS: Liability concerns are prevalent among this group of school administrators, particularly if they had been involved in prior litigation, and even if they indicated they were aware of laws that provide liability protection where use occurs after hours. Reducing these concerns will be important if schools are to become locations for recreational programs that promote physical activity outside of regular school hours.

Study Type: 
Population: 
Document Type: 
Location by State: 
Resource Type: 

Contributing to helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Truly shifting from niche to norm

Date: 
10/01/2017
Description: 

Giles-Corti B, Kerr J, & Pratt M. (2017). Contributing to helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Truly shifting from niche to norm. Prev Med. 103(Suppl), S1-S2.

Authors: 
Billie Giles-Corti, Jacqueline Kerr, Michael Pratt
Population: 
Location by State: 
Study Type: 

Shared Use Agreements Between Municipalities and Public Schools in the United States, 2014

Date: 
02/01/2017
Description: 

Omura, J.D., Carlson, S.A., Paul, P., Sliwa, S., Onufrak, S.J., & Fulton, J.E. (2017). Shared Use Agreements Between Municipalities and Public Schools in the United States, 2014. Prev Med. 95(Suppl), S53-S59.

Abstract: 

Shared use agreements allow public use of school facilities during non-school hours. Such agreements can cover outdoor facilities alone or may be more comprehensive by also including indoor facilities. Our aim was to: 1) estimate the prevalence of shared use agreements and facility types covered among U.S. municipalities and 2) identify differences in prevalence by municipality characteristics. The 2014 National Survey of Community-based Policy and Environmental Supports for Healthy Eating and Active Living is a representative survey of US municipalities (n = 2029). Data were analyzed using survey weights to create national estimates. Logistic and multinomial regression models determined odds ratios adjusting for municipality characteristics. Among 1930 municipalities with a school, 41.6% had a shared use agreement as reported by a local official, 45.6% did not, and 12.8% did not know. Significant differences in prevalence existed by population size, rural/urban status, poverty prevalence, median education level, and census region; however, after adjustment for other municipality characteristics significant differences remained only by population size, median education level, and census region. Among municipalities with a shared use agreement, 59.6% covered both outdoor and indoor facilities, 5.5% covered indoor facilities only, and 34.9% covered outdoor facilities only. Opportunities exist to expand the use of shared use agreements particularly in municipalities with small populations, lower education levels, and in the South, and to promote more comprehensive shared use agreements that include both indoor and outdoor facilities.

Authors: 
JD Omura, SA Carlson, P Paul, S Sliwa, SJ Onufrak, & JE Fulton
Location by State: 
Population: 
Study Type: 

Strength of Obesity Prevention Interventions in Early Care and Education Settings: A Systematic Review

Date: 
02/01/2017
Description: 

Ward, D.S., Welker, E., Choate, A., et al. (2017). Strength of Obesity Prevention Interventions in Early Care and Education Settings: A Systematic Review. Prev Med. 95(Suppl), S37-S52.

Abstract: 

Time and place of study: 2010–2015; international.

Given the high levels of obesity in young children, numbers of children in out-of-home care, and data suggesting a link between early care and education (ECE) participation and overweight/obesity, obesity prevention in ECE settings is critical. As the field has progressed, a number of interventions have been reviewed yet there is a need to summarize the data using more sophisticated analyses to answer questions on the effectiveness of interventions. We conducted a systematic review of obesity prevention interventions in center-based ECE settings published between 2010 and 2015. Our goal was to identify promising intervention characteristics associated with successful behavioral and anthropometric outcomes. A rigorous search strategy resulted in 43 interventions that met inclusion criteria. We developed a coding strategy to assess intervention strength, used a validated study quality assessment tool, and presented detailed descriptive information about interventions (e.g., target behaviors, intervention strategies, and mode of delivery). Intervention strength was positively correlated with reporting of positive anthropometric outcomes for physical activity, diet, and combined interventions, and parent engagement components increased the strength of these relationships. Study quality was modestly related to percent successful healthy eating outcomes. Relationships between intervention strength and behavioral outcomes demonstrated negative relationships for all behavioral outcomes. Specific components of intervention strength (number of intervention strategies, potential impact of strategies, frequency of use, and duration of intervention) were correlated with some of the anthropometric and parent engagement outcomes. The review provided tentative evidence that multi-component, multi-level ECE interventions with parental engagement are most likely to be effective with anthropometric outcomes.

Authors: 
DS Ward, E Welker, A Choate, KE Henderson, M Lott, A Tovar, A Wilson, & JF Sallis
Location by State: 
Population: 
Study Type: 

From Sedentary to Active School Commute: Multi-Level Factors Associated with Travel Mode Shifts

Date: 
02/01/2017
Description: 

Lee, C., Yoon, J., & Zhu, X. (2017). From Sedentary to Active School Commute: Multi-Level Factors Associated with Travel Mode Shifts. Prev Med. 95(Suppl), S28-S36.

Abstract: 

Previous research has examined personal, social, and environmental correlates of active commuting to school, but most were cross-sectional and mode choice studies. This exploratory case study utilized a retrospective natural experiment opportunity, where a group of students transferred to a new school, and therefore experienced changes in their home-to-school travel environments. It examined whether such changes led to mode shifts from sedentary (car or school bus) to active (walking and bicycling) and what factors were associated with those shifts. Retrospective parental survey data (n = 165, response rate = 46%) were collected in 2011 from a new elementary school that opened in 2010 in Austin, Texas. The survey asked about the child's school travel mode and parental perceptions of home-to-school travel environments before and after the transfer, as well as personal and social factors. Multivariate logistic regressions were used to predict the odds of shifting from sedentary to active modes, using personal, social, and physical environmental variables. Sixty-eight (41.2%) respondents reported a sedentary-to-active mode shift for school commuting. Such shifts were associated with changes in school travel environments (e.g., shorter travel distance, improved safety, and decreased availability of bike lanes/paths) and relevant programs/services (e.g., increase in walking-promotion programs, and decrease in school bus service due to shortened distances). Targeting the current sedentary mode users is important to bring health benefits through increased physical activity and environmental benefits from reduced automobile use. Sedentary-to-active mode shifts may be encouraged by providing walking-promotion programs and by reducing travel distances and safety threats en route to school.

Authors: 
C Lee, J Yoon, & X Zhu
Location by State: 

Using Cost-Effectiveness Analysis to Prioritize Policy and Programmatic Approaches to Physical Activity Promotion and Obesity Prevention in Childhood

Date: 
02/01/2017
Description: 

Cradock, A.J., Barrett, J.L., Kenney, E.L., et al. (2017). Using Cost-Effectiveness Analysis to Prioritize Policy and Programmatic Approaches to Physical Activity Promotion and Obesity Prevention in Childhood. Prev Med. 95(Suppl), S17-S27.

Abstract: 

Participation in recommended levels of physical activity promotes a healthy body weight and reduced chronic disease risk. To inform investment in prevention initiatives, we simulate the national implementation, impact on physical activity and childhood obesity and associated cost-effectiveness (versus the status quo) of six recommended strategies that can be applied throughout childhood to increase physical activity in US school, afterschool and childcare settings. In 2016, the Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) systematic review process identified six interventions for study. A microsimulation model estimated intervention outcomes 2015–2025 including changes in mean MET-hours/day, intervention reach and cost per person, cost per MET-hour change, ten-year net costs to society and cases of childhood obesity prevented. First year reach of the interventions ranged from 90,000 youth attending a Healthy Afterschool Program to 31.3 million youth reached by Active School Day policies. Mean MET-hour/day/person increases ranged from 0.05 MET-hour/day/person for Active PE and Healthy Afterschool to 1.29 MET-hour/day/person for the implementation of New Afterschool Programs. Cost per MET-hour change ranged from cost saving to $3.14. Approximately 2500 to 110,000 cases of children with obesity could be prevented depending on the intervention implemented. All of the six interventions are estimated to increase physical activity levels among children and adolescents in the US population and prevent cases of childhood obesity. Results do not include other impacts of increased physical activity, including cognitive and behavioral effects. Decision-makers can use these methods to inform prioritization of physical activity promotion and obesity prevention on policy agendas.

Authors: 
AL Cradock, JL Barrett, EL Kenney, CM Giles, ZJ Ward, MW Long, SC Resch, AA Pipito, ER Wei, & SL Gortmaker
Location by State: 
Study Type: 

Shared Use Agreements and Leisure Time Physical Activity in North Carolina Public Schools

Date: 
02/01/2017
Description: 

Carlton, T.A., Kanters, M.A., Bocarro, J.N., Floyd, M.F., Edwards, M.B., & Suau, L.J. (2017). Shared Use Agreements and Leisure Time Physical Activity in North Carolina Public Schools. Prev Med. 95(Suppl), S10-S16.

Abstract: 

Although increasing community access to public schools through shared use agreements (SUAs) has been a recommended strategy for promoting physical activity (PA) among national, state and local organizations, empirical evidence examining the efficacy of SUAs is limited. This study examined the degree of usage and production of PA among schools with shared use, and how variation in PA output is related to characteristics of the school, type of activity, facility type, and when activity occurs. Data were collected in 20 schools across North Carolina using System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) and Structured Physical Activity Surveys (SPAS) to assess PA in school athletic facilities during out of school time. Findings indicated that although schools had a policy of shared or open use, most facilities were empty during non-school hours. Hierarchal linear regression models also showed that formal programming was positively associated with both use and PA levels. Given the abundance of empty facilities, community groups in need of space to facilitate structured PA programs should pursue avenues of sharing facilities with public schools. Furthermore, to increase the efficacy of shared use, structured physical activity programs may be needed. Future studies are encouraged to further explore the effects of the specific types of shared use programs on PA production as well other aspects of the built environment surrounding schools.

Authors: 
TA Carlton, MA Kanters, JN Bocarro, MF Floyd, MB Edwards, & LJ Suau
Location by State: 
Study Type: 

Associations Between Demographic Characteristics and Physical Activity Practices in Nevada Schools

Date: 
02/01/2017
Description: 

Monnat, S.M., Lounsbery, M.A.F., McKenzie, T.L., & Chandler, R.F. (2017). Associations Between Demographic Characteristics and Physical Activity Practices in Nevada Schools. Prev Med. 95(Suppl), S4-S9.

Abstract: 

Schools are important settings for not only providing and promoting children's physical activity (PA) but also for reducing PA disparities. We investigated associations between school-level demographic characteristics (racial/ethnic and socioeconomic composition, urban-rural status, and student-to-teacher ratio) and 16 PA-promoting practices in 347 Nevada public elementary, middle, and high schools in 2014. We found that low-cost and easy-to-implement practices are most prevalent. There is relative demographic equity in ten of 16 PA practices and significant differences in six PA practices in Nevada schools. Schools with comparatively larger percentages of Black students are the most disadvantaged, as they have the fewest PA-supportive practices in place. Higher percent black was associated with lower odds of providing classroom activity breaks (AOR = 0.632, 95% CI = 0.453–0.881) and bike racks (AOR=0.60, 95% CI=0.362–0.996), greater odds of withholding recess/PE for disciplinary reasons (AOR = 1.377, 95% CI = 1.006–1.885), and lower odds of having recess supervisors who are trained to promote PA (AOR=0.583, 95% CI=0.374–0.909). Schools with greater percentages of Hispanic students have lower odds of providing before-school PA programs (AOR=0.867, 95% CI=0.761–0.987), whereas schools with greater percentages of low-SES students have greater odds of providing after-school PA programs (AOR = 1.135, 95% CI = 1.016–1.268). Higher student-to-teacher ratio was also associated with greater odds of providing after-school PA programs (AOR=1.135, 95% CI=1.016–1.268). Urban-rural status was unrelated to all PA practices.

Authors: 
Monnat, S.M., Lounsbery, M.A.F., McKenzie, T.L., & Chandler, R.F.
Location by State: 
Study Type: 

The 2016 Active Living Research Conference: Equity in Active Living

Date: 
02/01/2017
Description: 

Keith, N.R., Baskin, M.L., Wilhelm Stanis, S.A., & Sallis, J.F. (2017). The 2016 Active Living Research Conference: Equity in Active Living. Prev Med. 95(Suppl), S1-S3.

Authors: 
NR Keith, ML Baskin, SA Wilhelm Stanis, & JF Sallis
Location by State: 

Monitoring the Uptake of National AfterSchool Association Physical Activity Standards

Description: 

Wiecha, J., Barnes, M., Hall, G. (2015). Monitoring the Uptake of National AfterSchool Association Physical Activity Standards. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI International. 

This report summarizes activities conducted under Active Living Research (ALR) Commissioned Analysis 71566 by RTI International and Wellesley College. This project builds upon a 2013 survey conducted with previous ALR support. The focus of the current project was to obtain a second time-point regarding uptake of the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) physical activity standards in a national sample of afterschool sites using an online survey. In this report, we compare findings from the 2013 and 2014 surveys. We also present findings from a construct validation sub-study comparing online survey data on the types of physical activity offered in respondents’ sites with more detailed interview data.

This report was funded by Active Living Research through a Commissioned Analysis Award.

Date: 
12/01/2015
Funding Source: 
Active Living Research
Authors: 
Jean Wiecha, Michelle Barnes, & Georgia Hall
Organization: 
RTI International & Wellesley College
Study Type: 
Location by State: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Schools