Opportunities for student physical activity in elementary schools: a cross-sectional survey of frequency and correlates

Health Educ Behav. 2006 Apr;33(2):215-32. doi: 10.1177/1090198105277855.


The objectives of this study were to describe opportunities for student physical activity (PA) in elementary schools and to identify factors in the school environment associated with higher PA opportunity. Self-report questionnaires were completed by school principals and physical education teachers in 277 schools (88% response) in metropolitan Montreal. Correlates of opportunity were identified using ordinal logistic regression. There was substantial variation in PA opportunities between schools. Higher opportunity was associated with role modeling of PA by school principals, their interest in increasing PA through links to the municipality, adequate financial and human resources, access to school sports facilities, adequate space for storing student sports equipment, and suburban location. There is both the need and the potential for intervention to increase PA opportunities in elementary schools. Addressing barriers related to resources and access to sports facilities may help reduce disparities between schools in opportunities for students to engage in PA.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise*
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Physical Education and Training / organization & administration
  • Physical Education and Training / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Quebec
  • Schools / organization & administration*
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Environment*
  • Sports
  • Sports Equipment
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires