Online Program

School physical activity-related policies and actual physical education class attendance, sports team participation, and overall physical activity reported by high school students

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 10:50 a.m. - 11:10 a.m.

Jinsook Kim, PhD, MPH, DDS, School of Health Studies, Public Health and Health Education Programs, Northern Illinois University, De Kalb, IL
INTRODUCTION: Schools have adopted various policies to promote students' physical activity (PA) as part of efforts to reduce childhood obesity. However, there is no clear evidence that the school policies have been fully implemented or increased students' PA levels. This study examines whether students' reported attendance to physical education (PE) classes, participation in sports teams, and overall PA levels are associated with state-level measures of PA-related school policies. METHODS: This study analyzes data collected from state-representative schools and students from multiple states. The state-level measures of PA-related school policies are from the 2008 School Health Profiles data (N=4,903 schools). The individual-level data include state-representative high school students (N=67,856) who participated in their state's Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 2009. RESULTS: Approximately 41% of schools required PE for all grades. But, 87% of schools allowed students an exemption from required PE. On average, 58% of high schools offered intramural sports activities. The percentage of schools requiring PE for all grades was positively associated with attending PE every day (odds ratio (OR) =2.70 per 10% increase) and actually exercising for more than 20 minutes in PE classes (OR=10.6). The percentage of schools offering sports teams or activities was associated with a higher likelihood of sports participation (OR =1.74) among students. However, overall PA levels were not associated with school PA-related policies. DISCUSSION: The results suggest that requiring PE for students of all grade levels and providing intramural sports opportunities are effective in engaging high school students in school-based PA.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List physical activity-related school policies with potential effectiveness. Describe how school environment including physical activity-related policies could affect students’ physical activity levels. Discuss which school factors or practices could undermine the effectiveness of physical activity-related school policies.

Keyword(s): School-Based Programs, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conduct research on the influence of social environment on health behaviors and outcomes and teach health promotion and research methods at a university.
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.