National Study of Changes in Community Access to School Physical Activity Facilities: The School Health Policies and Programs Study

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health

Background:

A Healthy People 2010 developmental objective (22-12) was set to increase the proportion of the nation's public and private schools that provide access to their physical activity spaces and facilities for all persons outside of normal school hours. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of indoor and outdoor facilities at schools and the availability of those facilities to the public in 2000 and 2006.

Methods:

In 2000 and 2006, the School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS) was conducted in each state and in randomly selected districts, schools, and classrooms. This analysis focused on the school level questionnaire from a nationally representative sample of public and nonpublic elementary, middle, and high schools (n = 921 in 2000 and n = 984 in 2006).

Results:

No meaningful changes in the prevalence of access to school physical activity facilities were found from 2000 to 2006, for youth or adult community sports teams, classes, or open gym.

Conclusions:

These national data indicate a lack of progress from 2000 and 2006 toward increasing the proportion of the nation's public and private schools that provide access to their physical activity facilities for all persons outside of normal school hours.

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Evenson and Wen are with the Dept of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Wen is also with the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Lee is with the Division of Adolescent and School Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Heinrich is with the Dept of Public Health Sciences, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI. Eyler is with the Prevention Research Center, Washington University in St. Louis, MO.