Implementation of a school environment intervention physical activity in high school girls

Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 28599-7461, USA.
Health Education Research (Impact Factor: 1.66). 01/2007; 21(6):896-910. DOI: 10.1093/her/cyl134
Source: PubMed


Physical activity levels begin to decline in childhood and continue falling throughout adolescence, with girls being at greatest risk for inactivity. Schools are ideal settings for helping girls develop and maintain a physically active lifestyle. This paper describes the design and implementation of 'Lifestyle Education for Activity Program', or LEAP. LEAP used a health team approach with participatory strategies to provide training and support, instructional capacity building and opportunities to adapt school instructional program and environmental supports to local needs. The social-ecological model, based on social cognitive theory, served as the organizing framework for the LEAP intervention and elements of the coordinated school health program model as intervention channels. For the 12 intervention schools, LEAP staff documented 191 visits and interactions with 850 individuals over the 2-year period. Teachers reported successful implementation of most components of the intervention and demonstrated optimism for sustainability. These results indicate that a facilitative approach to intervention implementation can be used successfully to engage school personnel, and to change instructional programs and school environments to increase the physical activity level of high school girls.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    • "For an increasing number of children PE may be the only opportunity they have during the week to engage in MVPA [19], and as subject area PE is now widely accepted as a public health resource [15]. Increasingly, studies are reporting the positive effect school-based PE interventions have on PA participation [16,20,21]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite known benefits of regular physical activity for health and well-being, many studies suggest that levels of physical activity in young people are low, and decline dramatically during adolescence. The purpose of the current research was to gather data on adolescent youth in order to inform the development of a targeted physical activity intervention. Cross-sectional data on physical activity levels (using self report and accelerometry), psychological correlates of physical activity, anthropometic characteristics, and the fundamental movement skill proficiency of 256 youth (53% male, 12.40 +/- 0.51 years) were collected. A subsample (n = 59) participated in focus group interviews to explore their perceptions of health and identify barriers and motivators to participation in physical activity. Findings indicate that the majority of youth (67%) were not accumulating the minimum 60 minutes of physical activity recommended daily for health, and that 99.5% did not achieve the fundamental movement skill proficiency expected for their age. Body mass index data showed that 25% of youth were classified as overweight or obese. Self-efficacy and physical activity attitude scores were significantly different (p < 0.05) between low, moderate and high active participants. Active and inactive youth reported differences in their perceived understanding of health and their barriers to physical activity participation, with active youth relating nutrition, exercise, energy and sports with the definition of 'being healthy', and inactive youth attributing primarily nutritional concepts to 'being healthy'. Data show a need for targeting low levels of physical activity in youth through addressing poor health related activity knowledge and low fundamental movement skill proficiency. The Y-PATH intervention was developed in accordance with the present study findings; details of the intervention format are presented.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · BMC Public Health
  • Source
    • "Using these criteria, the most important correlates of active transportation to school were gender, the perception of residential neighborhood safety, the percentage of roads with sidewalks, and the total length of streets. In order to increase female engagement in active transportation to school, interventions could follow similar existing programs, such as the LEAP program implemented in South Carolina [41]. Additionally, other programs, such as ENACT suggest that resident-led neighborhood programs are effective at increasing active transportation to school by improving perception of neighborhood safety, with safety in numbers [42]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Active transportation to school is a method by which youth can build physical activity into their daily routines. We examined correlates of active transportation to school at both individual- (characteristics of the individual and family) and area- (school and neighborhood) levels amongst youth living within 1 mile (1.6 km) of their school. Methods Using the 2009/10 Canadian Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) survey, we selected records of students (n = 3 997) from 161 schools that resided in an urban setting and lived within 1 mile from their school. Student records were compiled from: (1) individual-level HBSC student questionnaires; (2) area-level administrator (school) questionnaires; and (3) area-level geographic information system data sources. The outcome, active transportation to school, was determined via a questionnaire item describing the method of transportation that individual students normally use to get to school. Analyses focused on factors at multiple levels that potentially contribute to student decisions to engage in active transportation. Multi-level logistic regression analyses were employed. Results Approximately 18% of the variance in active transportation was accounted for at the area-level. Several individual and family characteristics were associated with engagement in active transportation to school including female gender (RR vs. males = 0.86, 95% CI: 0.80-0.91), having ≥2 cars in the household (RR vs. no cars = 0.87, 0.74-0.97), and family socioeconomic status (RR for ‘not well off’ vs. ‘very well off’ = 1.14, 1.01-1.26). Neighborhood characteristics most strongly related to active transportation were: the length of roads in the 1 km buffer (RR in quartile 4 vs. quartile 1 = 1.23, 1.00-1.42), the amount of litter in the neighborhood (RR for ‘major problem’ vs. ‘no problem’ = 1.47, 1.16-1.57), and relatively hot climates (RR in quartile 4 vs. quartile 1 = 1.33 CI, 1.05-1.53). Conclusion Engagement in active transportation to school was related to multiple factors at multiple levels. We identified gender, perception of residential neighborhood safety, the percentage of streets with sidewalks, and the total length of roads as the most important correlates of active transportation to school.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
  • Source
    • "Most evaluation studies focus on the extent to which school based physical activity/education programs increase physical activity and physical fi tness. An ample number of studies document that wellconceived programs, implemented by skilled staff, can increase levels of both physical activity and physical fi tness among youth (Pate, Saunders, et al., 2007; Pate, Ward, et al., 2007; Pate et al., 2005; Pfeiffer et al., 2006; Saunders, Ward, Felton, Dowda, & Pate, 2006; Ward et al., 2006). Based on synthesis of the scientifi c literature on evaluations of school based physical education programs, the Task Force on Community Preventive Services (2008) strongly recommends longer physical education classes and increased time engaged in moderate to vigorous activity as a strategy for increasing physical fi tness. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article provides an introduction to the October 2011 special issue of the Journal of School Health on "Healthier Students Are Better Learners." Literature was reviewed and synthesized to identify health problems affecting school-aged youth that are highly prevalent, disproportionately affect urban minority youth, directly and indirectly causally affect academic achievement, and can be feasibly and effectively addressed through school health programs and services. Based on these criteria, 7 educationally relevant health disparities were selected as strategic priorities to help close the achievement gap: (1) vision, (2) asthma, (3) teen pregnancy, (4) aggression and violence, (5) physical activity, (6) breakfast, and (7) inattention and hyperactivity. Research clearly shows that these health problems influence students' motivation and ability to learn. Disparities among urban minority youth are outlined, along with the causal pathways through which each adversely affects academic achievement, including sensory perceptions, cognition, school connectedness, absenteeism, and dropping out. Evidence-based approaches that schools can implement to address these problems are presented. These health problems and the causal pathways they influence have interactive and a synergistic effect, which is why they must be addressed collectively using a coordinated approach. No matter how well teachers are prepared to teach, no matter what accountability measures are put in place, no matter what governing structures are established for schools, educational progress will be profoundly limited if students are not motivated and able to learn. Particular health problems play a major role in limiting the motivation and ability to learn of urban minority youth. This is why reducing these disparities through a coordinated approach warrants validation as a cohesive school improvement initiative to close the achievement gap. Local, state, and national policies for implementing this recommendation are suggested.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2011 · Journal of School Health
Show more