258401 Physical Education quantity and quality: Are elementary schools meeting state mandates?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hannah Thompson, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Jennifer Linchey, BA , Pediatrics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Kristine Madsen, MD, MPH , Pediatrics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Background: School Physical Education (PE) provides an ideal opportunity for students to be physically active. California mandates 20 minutes of daily PE for elementary students, but schools may not comply with this policy. 50% of PE time should be spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), yet students rarely achieve this. We sought to determine the quantity and quality of PE, and related predictors, in a large urban school district. Methods: This mixed methods study employed 91 structured observations of 5th grade PE classes, interviews with 30 teachers and 20 school principals, and surveys of 1,056 5th grade students in 20 elementary schools during Spring 2011. Results: Only 4 (20%) schools met the PE mandate. Schools, on average, provided 12 minutes of daily PE, far short of the mandated 20 minutes. 47% of class time was spent in MVPA, equating to an average of 6 minutes of MVPA per day. Teacher training, years teaching, teacher's personal physical activity, and school PE facilities did not predict minutes of or MVPA during PE. Discussion: In this large urban school district, 5th grade students spent almost half of PE in MVPA, yet PE occurred infrequently and contributed only 6 minutes of MVPA toward the recommended 60 minutes of daily MVPA. Despite mandates, PE is not occurring in California. Factors previously associated with PE quantity or quality were not predictive in the present study. Further research should identify methods to increase compliance with mandated PE minutes.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
To evaluate predictors of elementary school Physical Education (PE) quantity and quality in a large, urban school district, with a focus on determining if schools are meeting state-mandated PE minutes.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student in Epidemiology and Translational Science at UCSF. I have extensive experience in conducting school- and community-based research on youth physical activity.
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.