School-based Settings

School-based interventions can help students, parents, teachers, and administrators become more physically active by providing programs, policies and environments that support active lifestyles. Schools are also useful resources for increasing physical activity in the broader community (e.g., facilities for exercise, meeting spaces).

Previous work in school-based settings has found:

  • Many schools communicate regularly with students, teachers, and parents (e.g., parent newsletters, Channel One programming, student newspapers, daily announcements), which can easily be used to encourage physical activity.
  • Schools may be well-suited for physical activity education programs because they assess and store information on individuals (e.g., students, employees) and communication systems for these individuals are already in place. These settings make it easy to distribute individually tailored information to participants.
  • School-based interventions can often be a more appropriate learning environment for children and adolescents than a medical setting.
  • Physical activity education sessions implemented in schools have the capacity to reach a population that might not otherwise have access to clinical services.
  • School children represent a captive audience that is eager to learn new ideas. Providing physical activity education in schools during the developmental years will reach students when they are beginning to make their own lifestyle choices.
  • Success and ownership are maintained when schools develop their own implementation plan, work out problems, have broad involvement among teachers and staff and other staff, and reach their own solutions.
  • Physical Activity education interventions have been primarily conducted in schools combining classroom-based education as well as specific activities and exercises in physical education classes.
  • The physical education program can complement and reinforce what is learned in the classroom and serve as the learning laboratory for health education programs.
  • In school settings, physical activity intervention strategies often include knowledge, skill building and physical activity education and demonstration.

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