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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017 Jul 19;14(1):98. doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0550-7.

Examining the impact of a province-wide physical education policy on secondary students' physical activity as a natural experiment.

Author information

1
Public Health Ontario, 480 University Ave, Suite 300, Toronto, ON, M5R 1V2, Canada. Erin.Hobin@oahpp.ca.
2
University of Toronto, 27 King's College Circle, Toronto, ON, M5S 1A2, Canada. Erin.Hobin@oahpp.ca.
3
Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, 513-715 McDermot Ave, Winnipeg, MB, R3E 3P4, Canada.
4
University of Manitoba, 66 Chancellors Circle, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N2, Canada.
5
Public Health Ontario, 480 University Ave, Suite 300, Toronto, ON, M5R 1V2, Canada.
6
Peel Public Health Unit, 150 Central Park Dr, Brampton, ON, L6T 2T9, Canada.
7
Thompson Rivers University, 900 McGill Rd, Kamloops, BC, V2C 0C8, Canada.
8
University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave W, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1, Canada.
9
Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, 200 University Ave W, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1, Canada.
10
Cancer Care Manitoba, 675 McDermot Ave, Winnipeg, MB, R3E 0V9, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of a province-wide physical education (PE) policy on secondary school students' moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

METHODS:

Policy: In fall 2008, Manitoba expanded a policy requiring a PE credit for students in grades 11 and 12 for the first time in Canada. The PE curriculum requires grades 11 and 12 students to complete a minimum of 55 h (50% of course hours) of MVPA (e.g., ≥30 min/day of MVPA on ≥5 days a week) during a 5-month semester to achieve the course credit.

STUDY DESIGNS:

A natural experimental study was designed using two sub-studies: 1) quasi-experimental controlled pre-post analysis of self-reported MVPA data obtained from census data in intervention and comparison [Prince Edward Island (PEI)] provinces in 2008 (n = 33,619 in Manitoba and n = 2258 in PEI) and 2012 (n = 41,169 in Manitoba and n = 4942 in PEI); and, 2) annual objectively measured MVPA in cohorts of secondary students in intervention (n = 447) and comparison (Alberta; n = 224) provinces over 4 years (2008 to 2012).

ANALYSIS:

In Study 1, two logistic regressions were conducted to model the odds that students accumulated: i) ≥30 min/day of MVPA, and ii) met Canada's national recommendation of ≥60 min/day of MVPA, in Manitoba versus PEI after adjusting for grade, sex, and BMI. In Study 2, a mixed effects model was used to assess students' minutes of MVPA per day per semester in Manitoba and Alberta, adjusting for age, sex, BMI, school location and school SES.

RESULTS:

In Study 1, no significant differences were observed in students achieving ≥30 (OR:1.13, 95% CI:0.92, 1.39) or ≥60 min/day of MVPA (OR:0.92, 95% CI: 0.78, 1.07) from baseline to follow-up between Manitoba and PEI. In Study 2, no significant policy effect on students' MVPA trajectories from baseline to last follow-up were observed between Manitoba and Alberta overall (-1.52, 95% CI:-3.47, 0.42), or by covariates.

CONCLUSIONS:

The Manitoba policy mandating PE in grades 11 and 12 had no effect on student MVPA overall or by key student or school characteristics. However, the effect of the PE policy may be underestimated due to the use of a nonrandomized research design and lack of data assessing the extent of policy implementation across schools. Nevertheless, findings can provide evidence about policy features that may improve the PE policy in Manitoba and inform future PE policies in other jurisdictions.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescents; Natural experiment; Physical activity; Physical education; School-based policy

PMID:
28724390
PMCID:
PMC5518116
DOI:
10.1186/s12966-017-0550-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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