OBJECTIVES: Comprehensive school health (CSH) is a multifaceted approach to health promotion. A key objective of CSH is to foster positive health behaviors outside of school. This study examined the 2-year change in physical activity during and after school among students participating in a CSH intervention in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
METHODS: This was a quasi-experimental, pre–post trial with a parallel, nonequivalent control group. Intervention schools had to be located in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. In the spring of 2009 and 2011, pedometer recordings (7 full days) and demographic data were collected from cross-sectional samples of fifth grade students from 10 intervention schools and 20 comparison schools. A total of 1157 students participated in the study. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounders and the clustered design.
RESULTS: Relative to 2009, children in 2011 were more active on schools days (1172 steps per day; P < .001) and on weekends (1450 steps per day; P < .001). However, the increase in mean steps between 2009 and 2011 was greater in CSH intervention schools than in comparison schools (school days: 1221 steps per day; P = .009; weekends: 2001 steps per day; P = .005). These increases remained significant after adjusting for gender and overweight status.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide evidence of the effectiveness of CSH to affect children’s physical activity during and outside of school. Results of this study justify broader implementation of effective CSH interventions for physical activity promotion and obesity prevention in the long term.
- APPLE Schools —
- Alberta Project Promoting Active Living and Healthy Eating in Schools
- CI —
- confidence interval
- CSH —
- comprehensive school health
- PA —
- physical activity
- Accepted November 14, 2013.
- Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics