218119 Impact of the Air Quality Flag Program on elementary school policy and environmental health curriculum

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Vickie D. Krenz, PhD, MSPH , Health Science, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA
Karen Kitchen, MPH , Anthem Blue Cross, Fresno, CA
Susie Rico-Vasquez, BS , American Lung Association Central California, Fresno, CA
Christy Sharp, MPH , San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Fresno, CA
Eric Krenz, PhD , Health Science, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA
Asthma is a major public health concern in the United States and California. Nearly 2.9 million Californians with asthma experienced asthma symptoms in the past 12 months, including 667,000 school-aged children. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of the Air Quality Flag Program (AQFP) within the school environment through policy and curriculum implementation. Procedures: A total of 57 elementary/middle school administrators (i.e., principals or their designees) were interviewed across six counties in California's central valley, 29 with the Flag Program and 28 without. The structured questionnaire addressed knowledge of the AQFP; program impact on school policies and curriculum; outdoor activities for students, school personnel, and parents; barriers/challenges with associated policies and curriculum; and, compliance with air quality monitoring data. A qualitative theme analysis was conducted. Results: Overall, 28% of non-Flag participants reported they could not identify a poor air quality day compared to 6% of Flag participants. Furthermore, 72% of the Flag participants reported to have an asthma policy as compared to 46% of the non-Flag participants. Flag participants were more likely to have teachers' and administrators' curriculum (24% and 20%, respectively) as compared to non-participants (14% and 10%, respectively). Over half of the Flag participants reported there were no problems implementing the Flag Program. Identified barriers included: lack of a set policy or curriculum for running the Flag Program, mobility of administrators, reluctance for schools to cancel sporting events/practices, and teachers' need to have a break from their students. Findings and recommendations will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the impact of outdoor air quality on elementary students' health. 2. Identify the components of the "Flag" program in relation to the Air Quality Index. 3. Discuss the impact of the "Flag" program within the school environment through policy and curriculum implementation.

Keywords: School-Based Programs, Air Quality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee and/or evaluate programs such as disease prevention, environmental, and asthma prevention programs.
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.