Finnish schools on the move : students' physical activity and school-related social factors
Published inLiikunnan ja kansanterveyden julkaisuja
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The school-based promotion of physical activity (PA) is a great opportunity to reach the majority of school-aged children. Aside from many physical health benefits, participation in physical activities can foster social well-being and interaction. The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in PA and school-related social factors, as well as their associations in school-aged children in schools which participated in the Finnish Schools on the Move programme and its pilot phase in 2010–2012. Furthermore, school-based actions for PA promotion and staff experiences in the pilot schools were investigated. The data were collected as part of the follow-up of the national Finnish Schools on the Move programme, which aims to create more physically active and pleasant school days through PA. Survey data were collected in 2010–2012 at four measurement points over two academic years from a total of 1463 students in grades 4–9. In addition, a fifth follow-up measurement was conducted with 385 eighth-graders in 2013. Questionnaires included measures of habitual PA, recess PA and school-related social factors. Furthermore, PA was measured objectively with ActiGraph accelerometers in a subsample of 319 students in grades 1–9. PA promotion processes at schools were investigated by means of diaries, interviews and online surveys with the local contact persons, principals and school staff. Objectively measured school day moderate-to-vigorous-intensity PA increased and sedentary time decreased more in the programme primary schools compared to the reference school, although changes in total PA did not occur. In lower secondary schools, student participation in self-reported physical activities during recess increased in physically active play and ball games, mostly among male students. Self-reported PA during recess was positively associated with peer relationships at school, relatedness to school in primary school and school climate in primary-school females. However, school-related social factors in eighth-graders did not differ between the years 2011 and 2013. Organised recess activities, gender-specific physical activities and facilities, student recess activators, and equipment provision and sports facilities development were considered to have affected students’ PA positively in lower secondary schools. The project was highly visible in schools, but there was great variation in school staff participation in its promotion. The results of this study showed positive changes in school day PA and participation in physical activities during recess. The promotion of PA and social well-being perspectives at school require further attention to the effective implementation of promotion actions, school staff involvement as well as female and lower secondary school students. ...
Alternative titleStudents' physical activity and school-related social factors
PublisherLIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health
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