226791 Impact of “Open School Policies” and Community Access to Physical Activity Facilities on Childhood Obesity and Fitness

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 5:30 PM - 5:45 PM

Mathilda B. Ruwe, MD, MPH, PhD , California State University, Fresno, Central Valley Health Policy Institute, Fresno, CA
Mariana Ramirez , California State Unviversity, Fresno, Central California Regional Obesity Prevention program, Fresno, CA, CA
Genoveva Islas-Hooker, MPH , Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, Fresno, CA
John A. Capitman, PhD , California State University-Fresno, Central Valley Health Policy Institute, Fresno, CA
Purpose: Low income communities face greater challenges in overcoming physical inactivity. This study is part of efforts by the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP) to explore the roles of public access to school space in increasing opportunities for physical activity. The purpose is to determine the association between community access to school space in the California San Joaquin Valley schools (SJV)and meeting healthy body composition and fitness standards. Methods: 400 schools randomly selected from 8 SJV counties constitute the sample. The dependent variables were: percent of students passing the Body Composition assessment and percent of students passing 6 of 6 fitness tests. The independent variables were: school characteristics; location (urban or rural, CCROPP vs. Non-CCROPP community); percent of students receiving free/reduced price meal (<60% or >= 60%), communities are among those allowed to use school physical activity facilities after school hours, (Yes or No). A least squares regression weighted by number tested was used to analyze the data. Findings: Preliminary findings show a significant association between school characteristics, policy approach and access to school physical activity space by community and students during non-schools hours with either body composition or passing 6 of 6 fitness standards. Conclusion: Policies that facilitate community access to school space during non-school hours could help in reducing childhood obesity. This study suggests that a policy initiated by the school district maybe more effective than other approaches in increasing number of children who meet fitness standards.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives: 1. Discuss the marginal impacts of various policy approaches to opening school physical activity space on childhood obesity/fitness 2. Explain how school characteristics influence children’s opportunities for physical activity 3. Explain the importance of community access to schools space in preventing childhood obesity

Keywords: Public Policy, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Iam a Senior Research Scientist and I am the Principal investigator of the study
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.