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
Lindsey Turner, Jamie F. Chriqui and Frank J. Chaloupka
Active transportation to school provides an important way for children to meet physical activity recommendations. The “walking school bus” (WSB) is a strategy whereby adults walk with a group of children to and from school along a fixed route. This study assessed whether school-organized WSB programs varied by school characteristics, district policies, and state laws.
School data were gathered by mail-back surveys in nationally representative samples of U.S. public elementary schools during the 2008−2009 and 2009−2010 school years (n = 632 and 666, respectively). Corresponding district policies and state laws were obtained.
Nationwide, 4.2% of schools organized a WSB program during 2008−2009, increasing to 6.2% by 2009−2010. Controlling for demographic covariates, schools were more likely to organize a WSB program where there was a strong district policy pertaining to safe active routes to school (OR = 2.14, P < .05), or a state law requiring crossing guards around schools (OR = 2.72, P < .05).
WSB programs are not common but district policies and state laws are associated with an increased likelihood of elementary schools organizing these programs. Policymaking efforts may encourage schools to promote active transportation.
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.