For children, schools play an important role in providing and promoting physical activity, yet growing school pressure to produce academic achievement gains have limited the priority of physical activity producing programs. The Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association, and others have developed recommendations for school physical activity policy and there is growing interest in examining the relationship between existing school physical activity policies, school practices, and physical activity. Given that research on school physical activity policy is in its infancy, my goal in writing this paper is to introduce readers to key aspects of school physical activity policy while simultaneously outlining existing research efforts and highlighting the many critical research gaps that still exist. I conclude the paper by linking policy to advocacy and outlining considerations for formulating effective advocacy efforts while emphasizing the need for advocacy research.
Lounsbery is with California State University, Long Beach, CA.