Physical activity strategies in low-resource elementary schools: Why and how are they prioritized?

Prev Med Rep. 2021 Jun 6;23:101430. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101430. eCollection 2021 Sep.


Most US children do not achieve the recommended daily 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (PA). Schools are ideal settings to promote PA given their reach to large child populations, including students with less resources and limited access to PA opportunities. Although limited in numbers, schools that offer enough PA strategies can provide insights to increase PA in these settings. However, few studies have examined why and how these schools successfully prioritize PA strategies, particularly schools serving socioeconomically disadvantaged student populations. This qualitative study of low-resource, PA-supportive schools was conducted during 2017-2018 to obtain in-depth information about why and how schools make decisions to prioritize and implement PA strategies. Forty-two study participants in 17 states plus Washington DC were recruited. Content analysis revealed the following themes: (1) Schools prioritize PA because it helps advance learning and health goals; (2) Policies and standards for PA/PE reinforce the importance of PA; (3) A culture of learning and health advances decisions to offer PA; (4) Advocates play a key role in generating support to integrate PA; (5) Stakeholder buy-in enables decisions to offer PA opportunities; (6) Collaboration focused on PA specifically can facilitate decisions to increase PA strategies; and (7) Funding and resources drive decisions to put PA strategies into practice. The study findings offer insights that may be useful in efforts to increase access to PA opportunities in low-resource elementary schools.

PMID:34178588 | PMC:PMC8209743 | DOI:10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101430