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Relations between the school physical environment and school social capital with student physical activity levels

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      Abstract

      Background

      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.

      Methods

      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.

      Results

      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.

      Conclusions

      The findings suggest that school social capital may be a more important factor in increasing students MVPA than the school physical environment. The results of this study may help inform interventions aimed at increasing student physical activity levels.

      Related collections

      Most cited references 26

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      Global physical activity levels: surveillance progress, pitfalls, and prospects.

      To implement effective non-communicable disease prevention programmes, policy makers need data for physical activity levels and trends. In this report, we describe physical activity levels worldwide with data for adults (15 years or older) from 122 countries and for adolescents (13-15-years-old) from 105 countries. Worldwide, 31·1% (95% CI 30·9-31·2) of adults are physically inactive, with proportions ranging from 17·0% (16·8-17·2) in southeast Asia to about 43% in the Americas and the eastern Mediterranean. Inactivity rises with age, is higher in women than in men, and is increased in high-income countries. The proportion of 13-15-year-olds doing fewer than 60 min of physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity per day is 80·3% (80·1-80·5); boys are more active than are girls. Continued improvement in monitoring of physical activity would help to guide development of policies and programmes to increase activity levels and to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases.
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        Systematic review of the health benefits of physical activity and fitness in school-aged children and youth

        Background The purpose was to: 1) perform a systematic review of studies examining the relation between physical activity, fitness, and health in school-aged children and youth, and 2) make recommendations based on the findings. Methods The systematic review was limited to 7 health indicators: high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, the metabolic syndrome, obesity, low bone density, depression, and injuries. Literature searches were conducted using predefined keywords in 6 key databases. A total of 11,088 potential papers were identified. The abstracts and full-text articles of potentially relevant papers were screened to determine eligibility. Data was abstracted for 113 outcomes from the 86 eligible papers. The evidence was graded for each health outcome using established criteria based on the quantity and quality of studies and strength of effect. The volume, intensity, and type of physical activity were considered. Results Physical activity was associated with numerous health benefits. The dose-response relations observed in observational studies indicate that the more physical activity, the greater the health benefit. Results from experimental studies indicate that even modest amounts of physical activity can have health benefits in high-risk youngsters (e.g., obese). To achieve substantive health benefits, the physical activity should be of at least a moderate intensity. Vigorous intensity activities may provide even greater benefit. Aerobic-based activities had the greatest health benefit, other than for bone health, in which case high-impact weight bearing activities were required. Conclusion The following recommendations were made: 1) Children and youth 5-17 years of age should accumulate an average of at least 60 minutes per day and up to several hours of at least moderate intensity physical activity. Some of the health benefits can be achieved through an average of 30 minutes per day. [Level 2, Grade A]. 2) More vigorous intensity activities should be incorporated or added when possible, including activities that strengthen muscle and bone [Level 3, Grade B]. 3) Aerobic activities should make up the majority of the physical activity. Muscle and bone strengthening activities should be incorporated on at least 3 days of the week [Level 2, Grade A].
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          Researching health inequalities in adolescents: the development of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) family affluence scale.

          Socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent health have been little studied until recently, partly due to the lack of appropriate and agreed upon measures for this age group. The difficulties of measuring adolescent socioeconomic status (SES) are both conceptual and methodological. Conceptually, it is unclear whether parental SES should be used as a proxy, and if so, which aspect of SES is most relevant. Methodologically, parental SES information is difficult to obtain from adolescents resulting in high levels of missing data. These issues led to the development of a new measure, the Family Affluence Scale (FAS), in the context of an international study on adolescent health, the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) Study. The paper reviews the evolution of the measure over the past 10 years and its utility in examining and explaining health related inequalities at national and cross-national levels in over 30 countries in Europe and North America. We present an overview of HBSC papers published to date that examine FAS-related socioeconomic inequalities in health and health behaviour, using data from the HBSC study. Findings suggest consistent inequalities in self-reported health, psychosomatic symptoms, physical activity and aspects of eating habits at both the individual and country level. FAS has recently been adopted, and in some cases adapted, by other research and policy related studies and this work is also reviewed. Finally, ongoing FAS validation work is described together with ideas for future development of the measure.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]School of Kinesiology & Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, K7L 3N6 Ontario, Canada
            [2 ]Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, K7L 3N6 Ontario, Canada
            Contributors
            Journal
            BMC Public Health
            BMC Public Health
            BMC Public Health
            BioMed Central
            1471-2458
            2013
            17 December 2013
            : 13
            : 1191
            24341628
            3882326
            1471-2458-13-1191
            10.1186/1471-2458-13-1191
            Copyright © 2013 Button et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Categories
            Research Article

            Public health

            social capital, physical activity, school, adolescent, built environment

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