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Title: The school environment and children’s school-time physical activity
Author: Griew, Pippa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 1152
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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Background & study aims: Physical activity during childhood is associated with health benefits across the life course. The school setting is important for children's physical activity, yet we do not know whether the school a child attends is related to their sedentary and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. This study aims to assess: (1) patterns in sedentary-time and MVPA during school-time, (2) the extent to which these vary between schools and, (3) which characteristics of the school physical and social environment are related to children's sedentary-time and MVPA at school. Methods: Participants were 707 children (boys n=340) aged 10-11 years old from 17 schools in Bristol, UK recruited between September 2006 - July 2008 as part of the PEACH project (Personal and Environmental Associations with Children's Health). The percentage of time spent sedentary «100cpm) and in MVPA (~2000cpm) during lesson and free-time at school were assessed for boys and girls with Actigraph accelerometers. Perceptions of peer, teacher and school support for physical activity were assessed via a computerised questionnaire, a school grounds survey was conducted to assess the school physical environment and weather variables were recorded at each school. Between school differences in children's physical activity and associations with school environment characteristics were investigated using multilevel analysis (MLwin 2.22). Results: Children spent an average of 8% (32 (SO 14) minutes) of school time in MVPA and 65% (250 (SO 31) minutes) sedentary. Boys were significantly more active and less sedentary than girls over the total school day. These gender differences were greatest during free-time with boys achieving 43% (8 minutes) more MVPA and 27% (11 minutes) less time sedentary. Boys were least sedentary at schools with longer free-time duration (~-0.44, (SE: 0.12)), high peer support (~-3.52, (SE: 1.11)) and the least rainfall (~0.67, (SE: 0.24)) and achieved most MVPA at schools with longer free-time duration (~0.105, (SE: 0.077)), larger campus size (~0.007 (SE: 0.004)), high peer support (~2.22, (SE: 1.06)), the least rainfall (~-0.926, (SE: 0.212)) and colder temperatures (~-0.408, (SE: 0.143)). Girls were least sedentary at schools with longer lesson-time duration (~-0.16, (SE: 0.06)), high quality playground markings (~-3.06, (SE: 1.00)), high school support (~- 1.83, (SE: 0.76)), the least rainfall (~0.31, (SE: 0.12)) and highest temperatures (~-0.36, (SE: 0.12)). Girls achieved the most MVPA at school with longer lesson-time duration (~0.06 (SE: 0.03)), larger campus size (~ 0.04, (SE: 0.02)), less playground equipment (~- 0.23, (SE: 0.10)) and highest temperatures (~0.16, (SE: 0.05)). Conclusion: Opportunities to increase MVPA and reduce time spent sedentary exist within school-time, particularly for girls. Significant differences in sedentary-time and MVPA occur between schools that can largely be explained by characteristics of the school environment. Environmental modifications may, therefore, provide effective intervention. However, intervention strategies will need to consider the differing school environment characteristics associated with physical activity for boys and girls.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available