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Open access

Laurel Whalen, Jeanne Barcelona, Erin Centeio, and Nathan McCaughtry

When COVID-19 shuttered Michigan schools, 52 elementary and middle schools statewide were in various stages of implementation of comprehensive health programs, including the integration of physical activity, physical education, and nutrition education. To support the transition to a virtual learning environment, #HealthyKidsQuarantined was launched, providing virtual physical activity, physical education, and nutrition education curriculum and resources. Content was distributed weekly via e-mail to teachers and families alongside a daily social media campaign that disseminated resources to a national audience. Results identified significant content usage by schools (21,300 views/downloads) and engagement through social media (9,800 views/downloads). Teachers, students, and families expressed value in the health content provided, stating it was a support needed in a time of chaos. This study suggests that providing virtual health content may be a feasible way to sustain school and family investment in comprehensive youth health. Furthermore, by utilizing multiple dissemination strategies, virtual programming may be an effective mechanism to expand reach.

Open access

Jeanne Barcelona, Erin Centeio, Paige Arvidson, and Kowsar Hijazi

Purpose: This exploratory study evaluated how youth healthy eating (HE) and physical activity (PA) behaviors could be influenced by a whole-of-school program, which was transformed to a virtual setting at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors investigated how students experienced programming and the role of students’ perceptions of parental support in their self-reported engagement in HE and PA. Methods: PA and HE curricula were provided across 15 schools over 12 weeks. Students (N = 879, M age = 12.12 years, 63% female) completed a survey evaluating the value and perceptions around programmatic aspects as well as their self-reported engagement in HE and PA. Results: Multiple regression analyses revealed positive relationships between parental support for PA and student engagement, as well as positive relationships between students’ self-efficacy and HE behaviors. Conclusion: Findings indicate that students utilized virtual HE and PA programming and that parent support helped to facilitate engagement in PA and HE behaviors beyond the school setting.

Restricted access

Erin E. Centeio, Heather Erwin, and Darla M. Castelli

As public health concerns about physical inactivity and childhood obesity continue to rise, researchers are calling for interventions that comprehensively lead to more opportunities to participate in physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to examine the characteristics and attitudes of trained physical education teachers during the implementation of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program at the elementary level. Using a collective case study design, interviews, observations, field notes, open-ended survey questions, and an online forum monitoring guided the interpretation of teacher perceptions and development of emergent themes. Qualitative data analysis was conducted for each individual teacher and then across the ten teachers which produced four major themes: (a) Leading the Charge: Ready, Set, Go!, (b) Adoption versus Adaptation: Implementation Varies, (c) Social Media’s Place in the Professional Development (PD) Community, and (d) Keys to Successful Implementation. It can be concluded that, based on these findings, elementary physical education teachers are ready and willing to implement CSPAP. Key factors that may influence this implementation are discussed.

Open access

Kevin Mercier, Erin Centeio, Alex Garn, Heather Erwin, Risto Marttinen, and John Foley

This study investigated physical education (PE) teachers’ experiences with remote instruction in the United States during the initial outbreak of COVID-19. PE teachers (n = 4,362) from all 50 states completed a survey identifying their experiences with remote instruction in May, 2020. Survey responses were analyzed by geographic region, district type, and school level. Teachers reported having students submit assignments (51% yes), using video instruction (37% yes), being less effective when instructing remotely (20% yes), and emphasizing student outcomes focused on health-related fitness (32% yes), and physical activity value/enjoyment (43% yes). Access to technology (40% yes) and required student assignments (43% yes) were lowest among teachers from the South. Rural teachers reported the least access to technology (37% yes) and rated themselves as least effective (24% yes). Secondary level teachers reported the highest percentage of required assignments (84% yes). Teachers’ responses identify unique challenges to delivering equitable and effective remote PE instruction.

Open access

Erin Centeio, Kevin Mercier, Alex Garn, Heather Erwin, Risto Marttinen, and John Foley

The purpose of this study was to investigate physical education teachers’ perceptions of implementing online physical education during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to explore their needs with regard to support for future teaching experiences. A total of 4,302 teachers completed four open-ended questions as part of a larger survey. Deductive and inductive qualitative analysis led to three themes: (a) Teachers’ Proud Moments, (b) Help! So Many Obstacles, and (c) Future Challenges. Teachers stated many successes and challenges that they experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many items specifically focused on use and access to technology, student participation, and meeting students’ needs in various ways. Results can provide guidance for how to address the essential components of physical education in the online environment. In addition, results may provide insight to those who educate, train, and prepare teachers to teach in a virtual and/or physically distanced environment.

Restricted access

Brian Dauenhauer, Taemin Ha, Collin Webster, Heather Erwin, Erin Centeio, Jillian Papa, and Charlene Burgeson

Background: Principals are key to the promotion of physical activity (PA) in schools. The purpose of this study was to understand how school principals’ PA values, behaviors, and individual and school characteristics were associated with the presence of an active school. Methods: A representative sample of 1019 school principals in the United States was surveyed. Survey items addressed principals’ values and behaviors associated with PA, individual and school demographic factors, such as years of experience and school level, and a single item asking whether principals perceived their school to be an active school (ie, provides students with opportunities to be physically active before, during, and after the school day). Significant variables from a cross-tabulation and chi-square analysis were added to a hierarchical logistic regression model to assess the predictive properties of principal values and behaviors as they relate to the presence of an active school. Results: Approximately half of principals (47%) reported having an active school. The model significantly predicted the presence of an active school but accounted for only 6.6% of the total variance. Although values toward PA and more frequent personal PA behaviors were associated with the presence of an active school within the cross-tabulation and chi-square analysis, neither variable emerged as a significant predictor in the regression model. Conclusions: Principals’ personal PA values and behaviors contribute to the presence of an active school, but other variables, including years of experience and school contextual factors, are more powerful predictors.

Restricted access

Erin E. Centeio, Nate McCaughtry, Lila Gutuskey, Alex C. Garn, Cheryl Somers, Bo Shen, Jeffrey J. Martin, and Noel L. Kulik

The impact of Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAPs) on urban children’s, educators’, and parents’ physical activity (PA) is relatively unknown. The purpose of this study was to explore overall changes in student, educator, and parent PA after an 8-month CSPAP-based program. This longitudinal, exploratory study implemented a CSPAP in 20 urban elementary schools, with six randomized for research. In-school PA was measured prepost for all fourth grade students using accelerometers. Parent and educator PA was self-reported using the IPAQ. RM-ANOVAs revealed significant prepost increases in minutes of student MVPA (P < .001). Parents significantly increased PA (P < .01) and although educators’ reported change in PA, it was not statistically significant (P = .50). This study provides unique information about the potential influence of one CSPAP on students’ overall PA, PA by individual context within the school, the differential PA patterns by race, and PA changes for educators and parents.

Restricted access

Alex C. Garn, Alexandre J.S. Morin, Jeffrey Martin, Erin Centeio, Bo Shen, Noel Kulik, Cheryl Somers, and Nate McCaughtry

This study investigated a reciprocal effects model (REM) of children’s body fat self-concept and physical self-concept, and objectively measured school physical activity at different intensities. Grade four students (N = 376; M age = 9.07, SD = .61; 55% boys) from the midwest region of the United States completed measures of physical self-concept and body fat self-concept, and wore accelerometers for three consecutive school days at the beginning and end of one school year. Findings from structural equation modeling analyses did not support reciprocal effects. However, children’s body fat self-concept predicted future physical self-concept and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Multigroup analyses explored the moderating role of weight status, sex, ethnicity, and sex*ethnicity within the REM. Findings supported invariance, suggesting that the observed relations were generalizable for these children across demographic groups. Links between body fat self-concept and future physical self-concept and MVPA highlight self-enhancing effects that can promote children’s health and well-being.