The study also found that more supportive school environments were associated with students having higher levels of physical activity.
Three out of four teenagers do not get enough exercise, and this problem is particularly prevalent among female students.
However, a recent study from the University of Georgia reveals that promoting a healthier school environment could boost physical activity in adolescents.
According to the study’s lead author, Janani R. Thapa, schools are key to helping teens adopt healthy behaviors, such as good eating habits. The same goes for exercise.
The results were recently published in the Teenage diary.
“Recess times, physical facilities and social environments in schools have been found to affect students’ physical activity,” said Thapa, an associate professor of health policy and management at the College of Public Health. UGA.
Georgia has policies and programs in place to increase physical activity in K-12 schools. Thapa has played a key role in the evaluations of these programs.
“Over time, the state has observed a decline in physical activity levels among all teens, but the rate is higher among female middle and high school students,” she said.
Thapa suspected that school climate may play an important role in determining how comfortable students are with participating in school sports or other physical activities. School climate includes factors such as social support, safety, and bullying.
“We don’t know much about the role of school climate on physical activity,” Thapa said. “Some groups of students had to face obstacles. Therefore, we wanted to study the difference by gender.
Using data from a statewide survey of more than 360,000 Georgia high school students that included questions about physical activity levels and school climate, Thapa and his co-authors have could test this relationship.
The data included eight climate characteristics: school connection, peer social support, adult social support, cultural acceptance, physical environment, school safety, peer victimization ( bullying) and the school support environment.
Overall, female students reported less physical activity than their male counterparts, only 35% were active compared to 57% of males. And physical activity declined steadily from ninth to 12th grade for both genders.
However, students of both genders were more physically active when the school climate was perceived as positive on most measures.
One thing that stood out was the influence of bullying. Female students who reported being bullied were more likely to be physically active, while male students who reported being bullied were less likely to be physically active.
Bullying was the only measure of school climate that differed between boys and girls. This disparity could be explained, according to the authors, by the different norms regarding exercise and male versus female ideals.
“For example, female students who play sports and are physically active may not fit the gender norm and therefore may be bullied,” Thapa said.
These findings suggest that K-12 schools that want to promote participation in physical activity should consider how to improve students’ sense of safety at school and build peer and peer support. adults exercising.
Reference: “School climate-related determinants of physical activity among high school girls and boys” by Janani Rajbhandari-Thapa, Isha Metzger, Justin Ingels, Kiran Thapa and Kathryn Chiang, April 24, 2022, teen diary.
DOI: 10.1002 / jad.12052