Background: Evidence of the positive effects of school physical activity (PA) interventions, including classroom-based PA (CBPA), is rapidly growing. However, few studies examine how variations in scheduled PA opportunities and teacher-implemented CBPA affect students’ PA outcomes. Methods: Teachers at 5 elementary schools attended training on how to implement CBPA. Data on school-day PA opportunities [physical education (PE), recess, and CBPA] were obtained via calendar and teacher-recorded CBPA logs. Daily step counts were measured via accelerometry in 1346 students across 65 classrooms in first through fifth grades. Results: PE, recess, and CBPA contributed significantly to students’ daily steps. Males accrued more steps than females over the school day, during PE, and during recess. No gender disparity was seen in the amount of additional steps accrued during CBPA. Overall step counts were lower among fifth-grade students versus first-grade students, but CBPA attenuated this difference such that grade-level differences were not significant in fifth-grade students who received CBPA. Conclusions: Gender disparities in step totals were present on PE and recess days, but not on CBPA days. CBPA appears to provide equal PA benefits for both genders and to potentially minimize the decline in PA among older students.
Hannah G. Calvert, Matthew T. Mahar, Brian Flay and Lindsey Turner
Julianne A. Wenner, Kimberly M.B. Tucker, Hannah G. Calvert, Tyler G. Johnson and Lindsey Turner
Purpose: This research investigated how social capital relates to physical education (PE) teachers’ abilities to facilitate physical activity (PA) outside of PE class in their schools. Methods: Twenty-seven elementary PE teachers were interviewed. Data were analyzed using a multistep qualitative coding process ending in a cross-case analysis. Results: Among the three components of social capital (trustworthiness, norms, and information networks), positive norms around PE, and more broadly, PA, were most important for creating a physically active culture in schools. Trustworthiness was important, but less so than positive norms, and information networks were relatively unimportant for creating a culture of PA. Time was a limiting factor, because without it, PE teachers could not develop the social capital needed to promote PA. Conclusions: Becoming a PA leader is not just a function of will and motivation; rather, PE teachers must be supported with time and positive norms around PE and PA, which requires engagement of district and school leaders.
Hannah G. Calvert, Lindsey Turner, Julien Leider, Elizabeth Piekarz-Porter and Jamie F. Chriqui
Background: Schools are a setting in which students learn about the importance of lifelong physical activity (PA). Best practice guidelines indicate that schools should provide students with adequate physical education (PE) minutes and opportunities to engage in PA throughout the school day. Methods: Data from the nationally representative School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study in 2014–2015 were utilized to assess PA practices (including PE) at 412 public elementary schools. These data were linked to state- and district-level policy data from the National Wellness Policy Study to examine the relationships between state law and school district policies and school practices. Results: Just over half of the schools were in a state with a policy regarding PE minutes. The comprehensiveness and strength of PA policies were higher at the district level than the state level, but were still low overall. Comprehensiveness of PA policies at the state level, but not at the district level, was related to schools within those states that provide more PA practices. Conclusions: Existence of PE and PA policies at the state level appears to be an important predictor of school PA practices. Having more comprehensive policies at the state level may be an important facilitator of school implementation of comprehensive PA practices.