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Roles and Strategies of State Organizations Related to School-Based Physical Education and Physical Activity Policies

Cradock AL, Barrett JL, Carnoske C, Chriqui JF, Evenson KR, Gustat J, Healy IB, Heinrich K, Lemon SC, Tompkins NO, Reed HL, and Zieff S. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 19(3 Suppl 1):S34-40, 2013.

School-based physical education (PE) and physical activity (PA) policies can improve PA levels of students and promote health. Studies of policy implementation, communication, monitoring, enforcement, and evaluation are lacking. To describe how states implement, communicate, monitor, enforce, and evaluate key school-based PE and PA policies, researchers interviewed 24 key informants from state-level organizations in 9 states, including representatives from state departments of health and education, state boards of education, and advocacy/professional organizations. These states educate 27% of the US student population. Key informants described their organizations' roles in addressing 14 school-based PE and PA state laws and regulations identified by the Bridging the Gap research program and the National Cancer Institute's Classification of Laws Associated with School Students (C.L.A.S.S.) system. On average, states had 4 of 14 school-based PE and PA laws and regulations, and more than one-half of respondents reported different policies in practice besides the “on the books” laws. Respondents more often reported roles implementing and communicating policies compared with monitoring, enforcing, and evaluating them. Implementation and communication strategies used included training, technical assistance, and written communication of policy to local education agency administrators and teachers. State-level organizations have varying roles in addressing school-based PE and PA policies. Opportunities exist to focus state-level efforts on compliance with existing laws and regulations and evaluation of their impact.

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