This article explores an innovative strategy for battling the obesity epidemic. The strategy involves demonstrating to policy makers and education leaders the value of promoting physical activity in school as a way of enhancing academic-related outcomes to narrow the current achievement gap. A literature review was conducted to ascertain the feasibility of this strategy. Seven studies that examined the relationship between physical activity or fitness and academic-related outcomes were reviewed. Although more research is needed in this area, the majority of the articles reviewed found that regardless of socioeconomic status or ethnicity, a positive relationship exists between physical activity and academic-related outcomes. These findings suggest that integrating more physical activity into the school day may be an effective strategy to reduce both health disparities and the achievement gap.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To examine the impact of state- and school district-level policies on the prevalence of physical education (PE) and recess in a nationally representative sample of US public elementary schools.
Analyses from annual, nationally representative, cross-sectional surveys of school administrators in the United States.
Data were collected through surveys conducted between February and June during the 2006-2007 through 2008-2009 school years. State laws and district policies were compiled annually by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago using established legal research techniques.
The sample size was 47 states, 690 districts, and 1761 schools.
State- and school district-level PE and recess-related laws.
Twenty minutes of daily recess and 150 min/wk of PE.
The odds of schools having 150 min/wk of PE increased if they were located in states (odds ratio [OR], 2.8; 95% CI, 1.3-5.7) or school districts (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.3-4.3) having a law or policy requiring 150 min/wk of PE. Schools located in states with laws encouraging daily recess were significantly more likely to have 20 minutes of recess daily (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2-2.8). District policies were not significantly associated with school-level recess practices. Adequate PE time was inversely associated with recess and vice versa, suggesting that schools are substituting one form of physical activity for another rather than providing the recommended amount of both recess and PE.
By mandating PE or recess, policy makers can effectively increase school-based physical activity opportunities for youth.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As the focus on academic achievement has increased, physical activity opportunities in schools have decreased in the United States. In an attempt to discover how the decline in physical activity may affect academic achievement, researchers have been studying the effects of physical activity on cognition and academic achievement in children for more than fifty years. This review takes a historical perspective on the science of physical activity and academic achievement prior to and during the past five years. A total of 125 published articles were included and reviewed. Fifty-three of these articles were published in the past five years. In recent years, the overall quality of the studies has increased, but the results continue to be inconsistent. Many use cross-sectional designs and the methods vary substantially. The majority of conclusions show a positive effect of physical activity on constructs related to academic achievement. Future studies should use strong study designs to examine the types and doses of physical activity needed to produce improvements in academic achievement.
Journal of Sport and Health Science 12/2012; 1(3):160-169. DOI:10.1016/j.jshs.2012.09.003 · 1.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Less than half of elementary children meet the physical activity recommendations of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on a daily basis. Recess provides the single biggest opportunity for children to accumulate MVPA. This study explored whether a teacher's social prompting to be active during recess alone and modeling of active recess-time games alone may increase the amount of MVPA children accumulate during recess.
Three demographically matched schools were randomly assigned to receive a social prompting intervention, modeling intervention, or to serve as a comparison group. Pre- and postintervention physical activity data was collected utilizing accelerometers.
Compared with preintervention, MVPA during recess increased significantly in the social prompting group and decreased significantly in the modeling group. There were no significant changes in the comparison group. There was a significant interaction between time and intervention: pre- to postintervention change between interventions was significant for modeling versus comparison and modeling versus social prompting, but not for social prompting versus comparison.
Modeling was not an effective strategy for increasing MVPA during recess. Social prompting may be an effective strategy for increasing MVPA during recess. However, larger studies are needed to determine whether social prompting increases MVPA during recess. In light of evidence suggesting that MVPA is linked to lower obesity rates, and a substantial number of health and academic benefits, social prompting may be a useful strategy to further explore to address the childhood obesity epidemic, and improve students' health and academic outcomes.
Journal of School Health 04/2013; 83(4):265-272. DOI:10.1111/josh.12026 · 1.43 Impact Factor
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