A Qualitative Investigation of Australian Youth Perceptions to Enhance School Physical Activity: The Environmental Perceptions Investigation of Children’s Physical Activity (EPIC-PA) Study

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Brendon Hyndman
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There is more demand than ever for schools to equip children with the necessary skills to be physically active. The purpose of the Environmental Perceptions Investigation of Children’s Physical Activity (EPIC-PA) study was to investigate elementary and secondary school children’s perceptions to enhance the school physical activity environment.


Four Australian government schools (2 elementary and 2 secondary) were recruited for the EPIC-PA study. During the study, 78 children were recruited aged 10 to 13 years. The focus group discussions consisted of 54 children (32 elementary and 22 secondary) and the map drawing sessions included 24 children (17 elementary and 7 secondary).


The findings from the EPIC-PA study revealed insight into uniquely desired features to encourage physical activity such as adventure physical activity facilities (eg, rock climbing walls), recreational physical activity facilities (eg, jumping pillows), physical activity excursions, animal activity programs and teacher-directed activities. In addition to specific features, childrens revealed a host of policies for equipment borrowing, access to sports equipment/areas, music during physical activity time and external physical education lessons.


Understanding the multiple suggestions from children of features to enhance physical activity can be used by schools and researchers to create environments conducive to physical activity participation.

Hyndman (brendon.hyndman@cdu.edu.au) is with the International Graduate Centre of Education, School of Education, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

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