206711 Using policy implementation to improve school physical education in low-income communities

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:15 AM

Sally Lawrence Bullock, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Krista Stiffler, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Brian Cole, DrPH , Department of Health Services, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Lisa Craypo, MPH, RD , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Sarah Samuels, DrPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Introduction: School environments can model and encourage healthy levels of physical activity for children. Particularly in low-income communities, children may have a limited number of safe places to be active outside of school. Policy changes, made to improve the quality and duration of PE, can positively impact the health of students.

Program design/methodology: The Healthy Eating, Active Communities program (HEAC), funded by The California Endowment, has partnered with school districts in six low-income communities throughout California to improve school physical education environments. This session will describe the extent to which implementation of policies and programming was able to change the physical education experience for students.

Results: The HEAC schools have made many changes to their PE programs since baseline in 2005. Data collected at midpoint in 2008 indicated that the average level of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) had remained about the same. However, in comparing each school to itself from baseline to midpoint, over one-third of the schools had increased the amount of MVPA in PE classes. The presenter will highlight these findings, and tie in data related to school level, programming and equipment, and class size, duration, and location.

Discussion: Schools in disadvantaged communities are implementing policies and programming to improve their physical education environments for students. Challenges exist, such as diminishing budgets and persisting lack of buy-in, but these are being overcome. HEAC school districts are a model for schools in other areas hoping to improve the physical activity level of children and prevent childhood overweight and obesity.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the evaluation methodology employed to document changes in physical activity levels of students participating in physical education classes 2. Discuss shared and unique strategies employed by urban and rural districts in improving physical activity opportunities in schools 3. List five types of activities in which students engage during PE class that lead to increased moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels

Keywords: Physical Activity, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have an MPH, and have over 5 years of professional experience that has focused on chronic disease prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.