School Environment And Physical Activity In Children And Adolescents: Systematic Review

Por: Alan Goularte Knuth e .

Revista Brasileira de Atividade Física & Saúde - v.17 - n.6 - 2012

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The aim of this study was to identify, discuss and summarize findings from articles on the association between characteristics of the school environment and physical activity in children and adolescents. We followed the PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews. Articles were identified in PubMed. The main inclusion criteria were: (a) studies with children and adolescents – studies with preschool children only were excluded because they were covered in a recent review; (b) physical activity as the outcome; (c) school environment characteristics as the exposure variable. Outcome variables were heterogeneous across the 13 studies, including recess physical activity practice, extracurricular sports practice, Physical Education classes and total physical activity. Half of the studies used objective physical activity measures. The evaluation of school environments was again heterogeneous, ranging from checklists of spaces, satellite photos and interviews with school teachers and principals comprising sociocultural dimensions of the environment, policies and PE classes, but mainly measures of the built environment. No definitive conclusion about the influence of school environment on physical activity can be drawn due to the heterogeneity across studies, settings dimension assessed and the lack of prospective data. However, several features such as improvements in playgrounds, health promotion policies at school, and positive perceptions of the school environment seem to be associated with increased physical activity among children and adolescents.


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