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Schools are salient locations for promoting and providing physical activity, but they fail to meet the public health recommendation of providing at least half the 60 min of physical activity that children need daily. To help solve this school deficit, the author proposes that the “biggest bang” would result from developing and implementing school physical activity policies. However, this remains a theory because school policy studies are in their infancy and rarely include direct measures of physical activity. Physical activity does not just happen generally in schools but occurs within specific contexts such as physical education and leisure-time programs. Alternative methods to self-reports are needed to study physical activity policies, and direct observation tools are available to assess physical activity within specific contexts. Private and charter schools are understudied, and they should be included in future investigations.
The author is with the School of Exercise & Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.