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James F. Sallis and Kevin Patrick

The International Consensus Conference on Physical Activity Guidelines for Adolescents convened to review the effects of physical activity on the health of adolescents, to establish age-appropriate physical activity guidelines, and to consider how these guidelines might be implemented in primary health care settings. Thirty-four invited experts and representatives of scientific, medical, and governmental organizations established two main guidelines. First, all adolescents should be physically active daily or nearly every day as part of their lifestyles. Second, adolescents should engage in three or more sessions per week of activities that last 20 min or more and that require moderate to vigorous levels of exertion. Available data suggest that the vast majority of U.S. adolescents meet the first guideline, but only about two thirds of boys and one half of girls meet the second guideline. Physical activity has important effects on the health of adolescents, and the promotion of regular physical activity should be a priority for physicians and other health professionals.

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James F. Sallis and Jacqueline Kerr

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Nick Cavill, Stuart Biddle and James F. Sallis

An expert consensus development process was initiated to make public health recommendations regarding young people (5–18 years) and physical activity. Eight commissioned review papers were discussed at a meeting of over 50 academics and experts from a range of disciplines from the UK and overseas. Participants agreed on a consensus statement that summarized the research evidence and made two core recommendations. First, to optimize current and future health, all young people should participate in physical activity of at least moderate intensity for 1 hour per day. Young people who currently do little activity should participate in physical activity of at least moderate intensity for at least half an hour per day. The subsidiary recommendation is that, at least twice a week, some of these activities should help to enhance and maintain muscular strength and flexibility and bone health. A second aspect of the consensus process, which was based on extensive consultation, outlined the practical ways in which key organizations can work together to implement these recommendations. The resultant consensus statement provides a strong basis for the planning of future policies and programs to enhance young people’s participation in health-enhancing physical activity

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Mindy Fullilove, Chanam Lee and James F. Sallis

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James F. Sallis, Kevin Patrick and Barbara J. Long

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Thomas L. McKenzie, James F. Sallis, Paul Rosengard and Kymm Ballard

SPARK [Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids], in its current form, is a brand that represents a collection of exemplary, research-based, physical education and physical activity programs that emphasize a highly active curriculum, on-site staff development, and follow-up support. Given its complexity (e.g., multiple school levels, inclusion of both physical education and self-management curricula), SPARK features both diverse instructional and diverse curricular models. SPARK programs were initially funded by the NIH as two separate elementary and middle school intervention studies, and the curriculum and instructional models used in them embody the HOPE (Health Optimizing Physical Education) model. This paper reviews background information and studies from both the initial grants (1989–2000) and the dissemination (1994-present) phases of SPARK, identifies program evolution, and describes dissemination efforts and outcomes. Procedures used in SPARK may serve as models for others interested in researching and disseminating evidence-based physical education and physical activity programs.

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Thomas L. McKenzie, James F. Sallis and Philip R. Nader

This paper describes SOFIT (System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time), an observation instrument designed to assess variables associated with students’ activity levels and opportunities to become physically fit in physical education. SOFIT involves the direct observation of classes while simultaneously recording student physical activity levels, curriculum context variables, and teacher behavior. The paper reports the reliability, validity, and feasibility of using the instrument, as well as data from using SOFIT to assess 88 third- and fourth-grade classes.

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Nell Faucette, Thomas L. McKenzie and James F. Sallis

A primary purpose of this study was to describe differences between self-contained and team teaching approaches when two groups of fourth- and fifth-grade classroom teachers attempted to implement a physical education curriculum during a 4-month in-service program. One school featured team teaching in pairs during physical education classes; the other used a self-contained teaching approach. The program required a minimum of three 30-min physical education classes weekly. All teachers participated in an extensive in-service training program that included weekly on-site assistance. Data collection included teachers’ lesson-completion forms, specialist’s reports, SOFIT PE class observations, teacher-completed Stages of Concern questionnaires, and teachers’ formal interviews. Results indicated that classroom teachers who used the self-contained model more consistently implemented the curriculum and more frequently expressed positive responses. Participants who used the team model for the physical education curriculum frequently strayed from the assigned pedagogical approach, ignored major portions of the program, and experienced extreme management concerns.

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Thomas L. McKenzie, John E. Alcaraz and James F. Sallis

Few studies have examined students’ liking for physical education activities and factors that influence students’ evaluations despite the importance these have for continued engagement in physical activity. This study examined 16,032 ratings of “liking” of 648 physical education lessons reported by students in eight coeducational fourth- and fifth-grade classes during an 8-month period. Mean ratings on activity units ranged from 3.15 to 3.62 on a 4-point scale, indicating that the children liked the activities. However, they liked some units more than others (p < .001), and they preferred skill-related over health-related activities (p < .001). Day of week (p < .53), child’s grade (p < .69), and school (p < .56) were not associated with the children’s liking scores. Ratings of activities did not change significantly as students gained more experience with a specific instructional unit. Future research is recommended on how students’ needs and preferences relate to developing positive attitudes toward physical activities.