Research Study Abstract

Change in school environment and change in children’s physical activity; assessment with a validated school audit tool

  • Presented on May 21, 2014

Purpose: Objective measurement of school environments is important in determining how they impact children’s physical activity. We have previously developed and tested an audit tool to assess the opportunity for physical activity in primary schools. This study aims to test the validity of the same audit tool in secondary schools and to examine if and howchildren’s physical activity changes as they move between schools with differing levels of supportiveness.

Methods: The original 44 item tool was developed and tested at 92 primary schools in the county of Norfolk, England, during summer term of 2007. These schools were attended by 2064 participants in the SPEEDY study, who were followed up four years later at their secondary schools. The audit was repeated at 47 secondary schools. Initial analysis compared the audit scores across 6 domains of facility provision between primary and secondary schools. Subsequent analysis will assess how children’s school-time accelerometer-measured physical activity is related to changes in school audit scores.

Results: Comparing the scores of primary schools and secondary schools we saw few differences. Secondary schools had lower scores for ‘Sport and play facilities’ (6.0/17 vs 8.1/17, p<0.01), but similar mean values for walking and cycling provision, other facilities, design of grounds, and aesthetics. Physical activity measurements on school days from both study phases are available for 350 participants.

Conclusions: Overall the SPEEDY school audit found few differences in physical activity supportiveness between primary and secondary schools. Further analysis of school-time physical activity measurements will explore the implications of this.


  • Flo Harrison
  • Andy Jones
  • Kirsten Corder
  • Esther van Sluijs

Presented at

ISBNPA 2014 Annual Conference


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