Disseminating Evidence-Based Physical Education Practices in Rural Schools: The San Luis Valley Physical Education Academy

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

To address childhood obesity, strategies are needed to maximize physical activity during the school day. The San Luis Valley Physical Education Academy was a public health intervention designed to increase the quality of physical education and quantity of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during physical education class.

Methods:

Elementary school physical education teachers from 17 schools participated in the intervention. They received SPARK curriculum and equipment, workshops, and site coordinator support for 2 years. A pre/post/post within physical education teacher design was used to measure intervention effectiveness. System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) and a physical education teacher survey were collected 3 times.

Results:

MVPA increased from 51.1% to 67.3% over the 2-year intervention resulting in approximately 14.6 additional hours of physical activity over a school year and 4662 kcal or 1.33 lbs. of weight gain prevention. More time was spent on skill drills and less time on classroom management and free play.

Conclusions:

The San Luis Valley Physical Education Academy succeeded in increasing rural, low-income students’ physical activity. The multicomponent intervention contributed to the program’s success. However, cost-effective approaches are needed to disseminate and implement evidencebased practices aimed at increasing students’ physical activity during the school day.

Belansky is with the Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO. Cutforth is with the Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO. Kern is with the School of Kinesiology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA. Scarbro is with the Dept of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO.

Belansky (elaine.belansky@ucdenver.edu) is corresponding author.
Journal of Physical Activity and Health