The Role of School Environment in Physical Activity among Brazilian Adolescents

Available from: 
June 2015
Paper author(s): 
Leandro Fórnias Machado de Rezende , Catarina Machado Azeredo, Kelly Samara Silva, Rafael Moreira Claro, Ivan França-Junior, Maria Fernanda Tourinho Peres, Olinda do Carmo Luiz, Renata Bertazzi Levy, José Eluf-Neto
Education - Health

To analyze the association of physical activity facilities and extracurricular sports activities in schools with physical activity among adolescents. We used data collected for the National Survey of School Health in 2012. The national representative sample comprised 109,104 Brazilian students from 2,842 schools. We calculated the prevalence of participation in physical education classes, leisure-time physical activity, and total physical activity level. We also evaluated the following physical activity facilities: sports courts, running/athletics tracks, schoolyard with teacher-directed physical activities, swimming pools, locker rooms; and the offer of extracurricular sports activities. Schools with at least one physical activity facility had increased odds of participation in physical education (OR 1.59; 95% CI 1.20 to 2.10). However, in order to increase leisure-time physical activity (OR1.14; 95% CI 1.03 to 1.26) and total physical activity level (OR 1.15; 95% CI 1.06 to 1.24) at least four and two facilities, respectively, were necessary. Extracurricular sports activities in schools were positively associated with leisure-time physical activity and physical activity level. The number of sports courts and swimming pool in a school were associated with participation in physical education classes. Availability of sports courts, running/athletics tracks, and swimming pool in schools were associated with leisure-time physical activity. Total physical activity was associated with schools with sports courts, schoolyard with teacher-directed physical activities, and swimming pool. School-level characteristics have important potential to increase the possibility of engagement in physical activity in and out of school, and therefore have a fundamental role in promoting these practices.


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