MCHbest. NPM 8: Physical Activity
Strategy. Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs
Approach. Implement a comprehensive school physical activity program with a combination of strategies to increase physical activity before, during, and after school.
Overview. Research indicates that comprehensive school physical activity programs that use a combination of strategies to increase physical activity before, during, and after school can increase physical activity in children and adolescents. Components in these programs include 1) physical education, 2) physical activity during school (recess and classroom physical activity), 3) before- or after-school programs, 4) staff involvement, and 5) family and community engagement. The programs often also include healthy eating or well-being information but the focus is primarily on physical activity.1, 2
Evidence. Emerging. Initial research showed positive results for providing homework or extra credit for physical education class to increase physical activity in school children. Further research is needed to identify critical components and confirm effects. This strategy has been tested more than once and results trend positive overall. Access the peer-reviewed evidence through the MCH Digital Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).
Target Audience. Schools: children and adolescents, teachers, parents.
Outcome. Increase in overall physical activity in school children and adolescents. For detailed outcomes related to each study supporting this strategy, click on the peer-reviewed evidence link above and read the “Intervention Results” for each study.
Examples from the Field. Access descriptions of ESMs that use this strategy directly or intervention components that aligns with this strategy. You can use these ESMs to see how other Title V agencies are addressing the NPM.
Sample ESMs. Using the approach “Implement a comprehensive school physical activity program with a combination of strategies to increase physical activity before, during, and after school,” here are sample ESMs you can use to model for your own measures using the Results-Based Accountability framework (for suggestions on how to develop programs to support this strategy, see The Role of Title V in Adapting Strategies):
Note. ESMs become stronger as they move from measuring quantity to measuring quality (moving from Quadrants 1 and 3, respectively, to Quadrants 2 and 4) and from measuring effort to measuring effect (moving from Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively, to Quadrants 3 and 4).
1 Belton S, McCarren A, McGrane B, Powell D, Issartel J. The Youth-Physical Activity Towards Health (Y-PATH) intervention: Results of a 24 month cluster randomised controlled trial. PLOS One. 2019;14(9):e0221684.
2 Hyde ET, Gazmararian JA, Barrett-Williams SL, Kay CM. Health empowers you: Impact of a school-based physical activity program in elementary school students, Georgia, 2015-2016. Journal of School Health. 2020 Jan;90(1):32-38.