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Health Promot J Austr. 2009 Aug;20(2):127-32.

Through the eyes of children: engaging primary school-aged children in creating supportive school environments for physical activity and nutrition.

Author information

  • 1Greater Western Area Health Service, New South Wales. Emma.Fitzgerald@gwahs.health.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

ISSUES ADDRESSED:

This paper presents a qualitative study of physical activity, eating and drinking experiences of children at Wellington Public School, NSW. The study was designed and implemented to inform school programs and policies with a goal of fostering a supportive and healthy environment at the school.

METHODS:

The study involved use of focus groups, drawings and photovoice with 37 students from Kindergarten to Year 6 to determine problems, underlying causes and possible student-led interventions to enhance the school physical activity and nutritional environment.

RESULTS:

Students considered play as related to fun games with friends. Sport was associated with structured, competitive types of physical activity. Infants class students preferred play, while primary students reported a preference for semi-structured and structured activities. Suggestions to improve school playing areas mirrored these preferences. The children suggested strategies for increasing fruit, vegetable and water consumption during the school day.

CONCLUSION:

The students were keen to explore ways to increase physical activity opportunities and develop a supportive nutritional environment at school. Simple, easy to implement suggestions were among the outcomes of the study, reinforcing the importance of including students' views in healthy school program and policy development.

PMID:
19642961
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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