Childhood Obesity and Physical Activity-Friendly School Environments

Author: Ip, Patrick; Ho, Frederick Ka-Wing; Louie, Lobo Hung-Tak; Chung, Thomas Wai-Hung; Cheung, Yiu-Fai; Lee, So-Lun; Hui, Stanley Sai-Chuen; Ho, Walter King-Yan; Ho, Daniel Sai-Yin; Wong, Wilfred Hing-Sang; Jiang, Fan

Description: OBJECTIVE: Childhood obesity may be related to school environment, but previous studies often focused on food environment only. This study aimed to examine the relationship between school physical activity environment and childhood obesity.

STUDY DESIGN: This is a cross-sectional study with multilevel data collected on school physical activity environment using teacher questionnaires, students’ growth, and obesity status from electronic health records, and neighborhood socioeconomic status from census data.

RESULTS: This study included 208 280 students (6-18 years of age) from 438 schools (45% of Hong Kong). Prevalence of obesity was 5.0%. After controlling for socioeconomic status and intraschool correlation, robust Poisson regression revealed a reduced obesity risk associated with higher teachers’ perceived physical activity benefits (risk ratio 0.96, 95% CI 0.94-0.99, P = .02), physical activity teaching experience (0.93, 0.91-0.96, P<.001), school campus size (0.93, 0.87-0.99, P = .02), physical activity ethos (0.91, 0.88-0.94, P<.001), number of physical activity programs (0.93, 0.90-0.96, P<.001), and physical activity facilities (0.87, 0.84-0.90, P<.001). Students in schools with at least 3 physical activity-friendly environmental factors (11.7%) had a much lower risk of obesity (0.68, 0.62-0.75, P<.001) than those without (23.7%).

CONCLUSIONS: A physical activity-friendly school environment is associated with lower risk of obesity. School physical activity environment should be considered in future epidemiologic and intervention studies.

Subject headings: Adolescent; Child; Cross-Sectional Studies; Environment Design; Exercise; Female; Hong Kong; Humans; Male; Pediatric Obesity; Protective Factors; Regression Analysis; Residence Characteristics; Risk Factors; Schools; Social Class; Chinese; Childhood obesity; Physical activity; School environment

Publication year: 2017

Journal or book title: The Journal of Pediatrics

Volume: 191


Pages: 110-116

Find the full text:

Find more like this one (cited by):,26&sciodt=0,26&hl=en

Serial number: 3206

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.