The physical and social environments at schools are related to students’ moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) levels. The purpose of this study was to explore the interactive effects of the school physical environment and school social capital on the MVPA of students while at school.
Data from 18,875 grade 6–10 students from 331 schools who participated in the 2009/10 Canadian Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children survey were analyzed using multi-level regression. Students answered questions on the amount of time they spend in MVPA at school and on their school’s social capital. Administrator reports were used to create a physical activity related physical environment score.
The school physical environment score was positively associated with student MVPA at school (β = 0.040, p < .005). The association between the school social capital and MVPA was also positive (β = 0.074, p < .001). The difference in physical environments equated to about 20 minutes/week of MVPA for students attending schools with the lowest number of physical environment features and about 40 minutes/week for students attending schools with the lowest school social capital scores by comparison to students attending schools with the highest scores.