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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 106, Issue 2, pp e43–e51 | Cite as

The impact of school policies and practices on students’ diets, physical activity levels and body weights: A province-wide practicebased evaluation

  • Jessie-Lee D. McIsaac
  • Yen Li Chu
  • Chris Blanchard
  • Melissa D. Rossiter
  • Patricia L. Williams
  • Kim D. Raine
  • Sara F. L. Kirk
  • Paul J. VeugelersEmail author
Quantitative Research
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Objectives

To assess what health promotion policies and practices were adopted by schools in Nova Scotia and the extent that these policies and practices affected the diet quality, physical activity (PA) and weight status of students.

Methods

We developed and administered a ‘school practice assessment tool’ to assess the presence of 72 different school-based health promotion policies and practices. Surveys were conducted in 2003 and 2011 to assess diet, PA and weight status in approximately 10,000 grade 5 students. We used multilevel regression methods to examine changes in these outcomes across schools with varying levels of health promotion policies and practices between the two time-points.

Results

Between 2003 and 2011 the diet quality of students improved, PA decreased and the prevalence of childhood obesity increased. Although we did not find consistent or significant favourable benefits resulting from higher implementation levels, we did observe fewer negative trends among schools at higher levels of implementation.

Conclusion

Our results build on the current gap in knowledge on the impact of Health Promoting Schools (HPS) implementation through population health interventions, but there is a continued need for further evaluation and monitoring of school policies to understand how HPS practices are supporting healthier eating and PA for students.

Key Words

Public health schools health promotion health behaviour prevention 

Résumé

Objectifs

Évaluer les politiques et les pratiques de promotion de la santé adoptées dans les écoles de la Nouvelle-Écosse et leur effet sur la qualité du régime, l’activité physique (AP) et le statut pondéral des élèves.

Méthodes

Nous avons élaboré et administré un « outil d’évaluation des pratiques scolaires » pour évaluer la présence de 72 politiques et pratiques distinctes de promotion de la santé à l’école. Des sondages ont été menés en 2003 et en 2011 pour évaluer le régime, l’AP et le statut pondéral d’environ 10 000 élèves de 5e année. Nous avons utilisé des méthodes de régression multiniveaux pour examiner les changements dans les résultats obtenus par les écoles ayant adopté divers niveaux de politiques et de pratiques de promotion de la santé entre les deux dates.

Résultats

Entre 2003 et 2011, la qualité du régime des élèves s’est améliorée, l’AP a diminué, et la prévalence de l’obésité juvénile a augmenté. Nous n’avons pas trouvé d’avantages systématiques ou significatifs résultant de niveaux de mise en oeuvre supérieurs, mais nous avons observé moins de tendances négatives dans les écoles aux niveaux de mise en oeuvre supérieurs.

Conclusion

Nos résultats comblent une partie des lacunes actuelles dans les connaissances sur l’effet de la mise en oeuvre d’interventions en santé des populations dans les « écoles faisant la promotion de la santé » (EPS), mais il existe encore un besoin d’évaluer et de surveiller les politiques scolaires afin de comprendre comment les pratiques des EPS appuient l’alimentation saine et l’AP chez les élèves.

Mots Clés

santé publique écoles promotion de la santé comportement sanitaire prévention 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessie-Lee D. McIsaac
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yen Li Chu
    • 2
  • Chris Blanchard
    • 3
  • Melissa D. Rossiter
    • 4
  • Patricia L. Williams
    • 5
  • Kim D. Raine
    • 2
  • Sara F. L. Kirk
    • 1
  • Paul J. Veugelers
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Health and Human PerformanceDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Population Health Intervention Research Unit, School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Department of MedicineDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  4. 4.Department of Applied Human SciencesUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada
  5. 5.Department of Applied Human NutritionMount Saint Vincent UniversityHalifaxCanada

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