Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

School-Based Physical Activity Promotion: A Conceptual Framework for Research and Practice

Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

School-Based Physical Activity Promotion: A Conceptual Framework for Research and Practice

Article excerpt

[Author Affiliation]

Russell L. Carson. 1 School of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.

Darla M. Castelli. 2 Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.

Aaron Beighle. 3 Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Heather Erwin. 3 Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Address correspondence to: Russell L. Carson, PhD, MS, Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, 112 Long Field House, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, E-mail: rlcarson@lsu.edu

Introduction

Given the great concern regarding the physical activity (PA) levels of youth and the known benefits PA has on cognition, schools have been identified as logical sites for promoting PA for a few reasons.1,2 First, the majority of youth attend schools for approximately 6-7 hours per day, thus providing access to the targeted audience in a formal setting.3 Also, most schools have many of the facilities, equipment, and staffing needed for effective PA promotion that may not be available in the home or community environments.4 However, schools can also be limiting because of the lack of time offered for activities that do not contribute to academic requirements.5 Consequently, multi-faceted, cost-effective, and noninvasive approaches to school-based PA promotion are recommended.6,7 The aim of this article is to introduce a conceptual framework for school-based PA promotion that serves to stimulate, guide, and organize related research and practice. The guiding definition of school PA promotion used throughout this article and in the accompanying framework is opportunities in and around the school setting that purposefully endorse physical movement and its associated health and fitness benefits.

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program Conceptual Framework

A comprehensive school physical activity program (CSPAP) is a systematic, five-component approach by which schools and school districts optimally use all school-based PA opportunities available to develop educated individuals with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to participate in daily PA and sustain a physically active lifestyle.8 The underlying notion is that the recommended 60 minutes of PA each day may be accumulated through the coordinated synergy of multi-component CSPAP implementation.9,10 The CSPAP concept emerged in 2008 from a rich history of proposed comprehensive school-based approaches to health and wellness11,12 and, in a few short years, has become a widely advocated PA-focused model for building healthier generations of youth through schools.8,10 The CSPAP model is endorsed throughout the 2013 Institute of Medicine report on school-based PA, where it is termed a whole-of-school physical activity program,2 and is central to the newest national initiative to boost movement in schools--First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Active Schools (LMAS) campaign.13

The construction of a conceptual framework provides both a rational and visual representation of the flow from theory to practice. Such illustrations depict the organizational structure and relationships among variables that mediate and moderate the desirable outcome. Informed by the existing science and recommendations outlined in this article, as well as the recommended application of the social ecological systems and theoretical constructs14,15 to address childhood obesity and youth PA issues (e.g., previous reports16-19 ), we propose, in Figure 1, a multi-layered conceptualization for promoting PA through schools (entitled CSPAP conceptual framework).

Figure 1. Conceptual framework for CSPAP research and practice based on a social ecological perspective. …

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