The Association of School Environments with Youth Physical Activity

Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, United States
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.55). 05/2001; 91(4):618-20. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.91.4.618
Source: PubMed


This study assessed the association of school environmental characteristics with student physical activity on campus.
Physical activity areas (n = 137) at 24 public middle schools were assessed for area type, size, and improvements (e.g., basketball courts). Student physical activity and the presence of equipment and supervision were directly observed before school, after lunch, and after school.
Environmental characteristics explained 42% of the variance in the proportion of girls who were physically active and 59% of the variance for boys.
School environments with high levels of supervision and improvements stimulated girls and boys to be more physically active.

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    • "Such settings are potentially important to individual involvement in physical activity (King et al., 2002). As nearly all children attend school and because they spend a considerable part of their awake time in school, it seems important to understand the impact of the school environment on children's physical activity (Sallis et al., 2001). "

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    • "Opening up schoolyards, with supervision during nonschool hours to address safety concerns, has been found to increase PA levels in children (Parley et al. 2007; Sallis et al. 2001). Facilities within schoolyards such as basketball courts and soccer fields were found to increase PA levels during recess and after school (Sallis et al. 2001), and multicolored playgrounds that allow for different types of activities were found to increase MVPA levels during recess (Ridgers et al. 2007) over unmarked or unstructured play areas. Another significant predictor of PA is the presence and use of public transit. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article reviews empirical scholarship on preventable actual causes of death—namely, physical activity, food, and traffic-induced injury–related built environment interventions that lead to health improvements. A systems perspective built on the ecological health model is offered that addresses social determinants of health- and place-based contexts. In doing so, this article offers examples of upstream approaches to address the actual causes of death and ends with guidance on planning practice, research, and teaching organized around the research divisions of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.
    Journal of Planning Literature 12/2014; 30(3). DOI:10.1177/0885412214561337 · 1.19 Impact Factor
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    • "Indeed, some studies have associated children's active commuting with not only a better cardiometabolic profile (Cooper et al., 2008) and level of fitness (Chillón et al., 2010) but also with children's smaller waist circumference (Andersen et al., 2011). However, other studies have found no positive association between active commuting to school (ACS) and obesity and metabolic risk factors (Chillón et al., 2012; Dunton et al., 2009; Heelan et al., 2005; Rosenberg, Sallis, Conway, Cain, & McKenzie, 2006; Sallis et al., 2001). Distance to school has been consistently linked to active commuting rates, such as those living close to school commuting more actively than those living further away. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine (a) whether distance from home to school is a determinant of active commuting to school (ACS), (b) the relationship between distance from home to heavily used facilities (school, green spaces, and sports facilities) and the weight status and cardiometabolic risk categories, and (c) whether ACS has a positive impact on schoolchildren's health. Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 956 schoolchildren aged 10 to 12 years from the province of Cuenca, Spain. Height, weight, fat mass, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting plasma lipid profile, insulin, fitness, physical activity, and ACS were measured. Distances from home to facilities were measured by a geographic information system, and a validated metabolic syndrome index was used. Findings: Children living closer to school (less than 600 m) commuted actively to school more frequently than children living further away (more than 800 m). Normoweight boys lived further away from sports facilities than overweight/obese peers, and children presenting higher cardiometabolic risk levels lived closer to school than those who did not. No differences were found between children who daily walked/cycled to school and those commuting actively to school less frequently in body mass index, metabolic syndrome index, fitness, and physical activity. Conclusions: ACS had no positive impact on schoolchildren's health. Distance to school is an indicator of active commuting. However, it seems that not enough physical activity is done to prevent obesity and cardiometabolic risk factors in rural areas.
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