Online Program

Move to Achieve: Establishing a Statewide Baseline of Physical Education and Physical Activity Practices and Examining Impact on Elementary Students' Academics and Health

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Lesley Cottrell, PhD, Department of Pediatrics and Prevention Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Nancy O'Hara Tompkins, PhD, Prevention Research Center; Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Dustin Long, PhD, Department of Biostatistics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Traci Jarrett, PhD, School of Public Health, WV Prevention Research Center, WVCTSI, Office of Health Services Research, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Karen Northrup, MSN, Wood County Schools and WV Prevention Research Center, Parkersburg, WV
Objective: In 2014, West Virginia (WV) enacted policy aimed at increasing time requirements for physical activity to supplement existing physical education requirements. To capitalize on the opportunity of this natural experiment, a study was designed to retrospectively assess existing physical education and physical activity practices in WV elementary schools and to examine these practices in relation to academic achievement, classroom behaviors, and various health indicators.

Methods:Principal reports from 2012-2013 recounting the physical education and physical activity practices, resources, challenges, and achievements were collected for all elementary schools including fifth grade classrooms. A complementary survey from principals and physical education teachers is also being collected to assess challenges associated with the new requirements. Aggregate student standardized academic test scores and behaviors (suspensions, attendance) will be compared with the principal reports to examine associations between practices and student outcomes.

Results: Data from more than 500 elementary schools (n~ 15,000 fifth grade students) will illustrate physical activity and physical education practices and their association with academic achievement, classroom behaviors, and various health indicators.  Moving forward, these baseline data will enable longitudinal tracking of the impacts of the 2014 enacted additional physical activity time requirements. 

Conclusions: WV is joining other states in heeding the Institute of Medicine’s call for more physical activity during the school day, but has not yet established a baseline of current practices. These findings will meet that need and explore the implications of increasing physical activity for students’ academics and will outline potential practice and policy recommendations.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Define and describe historical policies and practices for providing physical education and physical activity statewide in WV; and Compare and contrast schools based on policy and practice differences in terms of student academic performance, health indices, and behavior

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

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a developmental psychologist with more than 15 years experience studying children's physical activity and obesity risks. I am a co-author on this work and the Co-PI on the research 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.