Passing a school health policy bill is not enough. Ongoing program refinements, monitoring and accountability measures, as well as supportive communitywide efforts, may be necessary to achieve the legislation's goals, according to this study assessing the implementation of a bill which mandates physical education time and a comprehensive school health program. This paper is part of a supplement to the Journal of Public Health Policy, reporting on the 2008 Active Living Research Conference.
The rate of childhood obesity in Texas is higher than the national average, especially among its economically disadvantaged populations. Passed in 2001, Texas Senate Bill 19 requires elementary school children to participate in 30 minutes of physical activity daily, or 135 minutes weekly. In addition, the bill required the state to recommend comprehensive coordinated health programs and for schools to adopt and receive implementation training in these "approved" programs by 2007. The bill's requirements were unfunded and no monitoring or accountability mechanisms were created.
This study has two purposes: First, to assess awareness and adherence to this bill throughout the state by interviewing key staff at 169 sample schools; and second, to evaluate progress in two economically disadvantaged regions—Regions 10 and 11—along the Texas-Mexico border. The study was conducted from 2005–2007.
- Schools were very aware of the mandates for a coordinated school health program and minimum physical activity (96% and 97%, respectively), but significantly less informed about components required in the program, such as parent involvement.
- Physical education minutes averaged 179 per week statewide, well above the minimum, and were even higher in Regions 10 and 11.
- Schools reported fairly low compliance with coordination requirements, such as the creation of school or district-level health committees. One year before the 2007 deadline, only 43 percent had adopted an "approved" coordinated school health program.
- Childhood obesity rates in border schools were high but Region 10's rate was one- third lower than that of Region 11. On almost every measure of compliance with Bill 19, Region 10 was doing better.
Although schools knew of Bill 19's requirements, implementation was mixed. Differences between the border regions indicate the legislation's mandates are not being equally addressed throughout the state. The authors also note Region 10 had a large-scale community health program in place until 2005. Since its discontinuation, the region's obesity rate has started to rise. This may indicate the importance of multicomponent, sustained and funded school and community interventions, in addition to legislation. The authors conclude passing school health policy legislation is not enough. Continued refinements, monitoring and accountability measures, as well as supportive communitywide health efforts, are necessary to achieve the legislation's goals.
- 1 Translating Research into Public Policy
- 2 Can We Achieve Evidence-Based Policy and Practice on Active Travel?
- 3 Where Different Worlds Collide
- 4 Factors Associated with Federal Transportation Funding for Local Pedestrian and Bicycle Programming and Facilities
- 5 Transit and Health: Mode of Transport, Employer-Sponsored Public Transit Pass Programs, and Physical Activity
- 6 Effect of Innovative Building Design on Physical Activity
- 7 Arkansas Act 1220 of 2003 to Reduce Childhood Obesity
- 8 Early Impact of the Federally Mandated Local Wellness Policy on Physical Activity in Rural, Low-Income Elementary Schools in Colorado
- 9 Preventing Childhood Obesity through State Policy
- 10 Correlates of Walking to School and Implications for Public Policies
- 11 Sociodemographic, Family, and Environmental Factors Associated with Active Commuting to School Among US Adolescents
- 12 Implementation of Texas Senate Bill 19 to Increase Physical Activity in Elementary Schools
- 13 Disparities in Urban Neighborhood Conditions
- 14 Disparities in Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors Among US Children and Adolescents
The What's Next Health series features leading thinkers and visionaries. Stanford social scientist & innovator BJ Fogg discusses his model f...
We create new opportunities for better health by investing in health where it starts—in our homes, schools, and jobs.
Behavioral economists compete in an Innovation Tournament, devising “nudges” to help make people healthier.
RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Jennifer Bellot writes about losing her grandmother to complications from a medical error.
When companies invest in employee wellness, it’s good for health, productivity ... and the bottom line.
Executive Nurse Fellow Jerry Mansfield explains why the University Hospital and the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital do not have a BSN-only hi...
Helping us understand what’s driving high health care costs is why we need more transparency in the prices, costs and quality of health care...
As smartphone technology becomes ever more ubiquitous and the dangers of tobacco become ever more apparent, it’s not surprising that there a...
Developing small community homes as alternatives to nursing homes, this radical, new national model for skilled nursing care returns control...
MTV executives are attempting to mollify nurses and nursing allies who are outraged over a salacious new “reality” television show about a g...
Team members, grantees, and guests discuss breakthrough ideas that will allow us to move toward solving challenges in health care.
HealthCare.gov: After Fixes, More Enroll in First Two Days of December than Did in All of October - Boston Adds Rentable Bicycle Helmets to ...