Online Program

Correlates of elementary students in rural, low-income school districts meeting physical activity recommendations: A social ecological approach

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Megan Patterson, MPH, Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, Waco, TX
Ann Amuta, MPH, CPH, Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
E. Lisako J. McKyer, PhD, MPH, Department of Health & Kinesiology, Transdisciplinary Center for Health Equity Research, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Sharon McWhinney, PhD, RD, Department of Agriculture, Nutrition & Human Ecology, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX
Christine Tisone, PhD, MPH, Department of Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Corliss Outley, Child & Adolescent Health Research Lab, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Whitney Garney, MPH, Health & Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Background: Federal guidelines recommend that children participate in > 60 minutes of physical activity (PA) every day. However, children in the US are not meeting recommendations. Children from rural/low-income communities report lower PA levels than the national average due to specific barriers (e.g., few resources, facilities). While Physical Education (PE) provides safe and effective PA opportunities, PE resources and requirements are being reduced. Further, little is known about PE's relationship to PA among rural, low-income children. The social ecological model helps to understanding PA by investigating individual and intrapersonal factors that influence behavior. Methods: The study was cross-sectional in design. Parents (n=298) of students from seven schools in central Texas completed a questionnaire about their child's PA behaviors and school environment. Descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate analyses were conducted using SPSS 19.0. Results: 32.9% of students (47.8% male, 52.2% female; 60% white, 50% Hispanic/Latino, 15.1% black), met PA recommendations (M=4.67 days, SD=2.095). Correlations showed number of days of PE as the strongest correlate of PA in a typical week (r=0.225). Regression analyses revealed that PE, participation in team sports, and race/ethnicity were all related to PA among this sample (r2=0.167, p=.000). Conclusion: PE needs to be a regular part of school curriculum in rural communities, especially those with low income students. Health educators should address the need for PA outside of school, including affordable and accessible sport participation for children in rural/low income communities. Further, physical activity environments available to children should be a major priority on public health policy agendas.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the importance of investigating multiple levels of influence (individual and environmental factors) related to physical activity. Define the governmental recommendations of physical activity for children and adolescents. Identify barriers to physical activity that rural, low-income children experience due to their physical and social environments.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research associate on several projects aimed at increasing access to physical activity. I am interested in rural community health and improving access to services.
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.