Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 106, Issue 5, pp e290–e296 | Cite as

School factors associated with the provision of physical education and levels of physical activity among elementary school students in Ontario

  • Daniel I. Naiman
  • Scott T. Leatherdale
  • Carolyn Gotay
  • Louise C. MâsseEmail author
Quantitative Research



To explore school and student characteristics associated with the number of physical education (PE) classes that elementary students received and to determine whether these characteristics and amount of PE were associated with the physical activity (PA) levels of elementary students.


Multi-level modeling with school-level (n = 30) and student-level (n = 2,447) questionnaire data from the PLAY-ON study was used to explore the school factors associated with the number of PE classes that students in grades 5 to 8 report receiving, and how these factors were associated with their PA. The Theories of Organizational Change served to operationalize the main school factors measured in this study and included assessments of: organizational climate (school practices related to PE or PA), organizational capacity (school ability to provide students with more PE or PA), and school PA/PE policies.


The number of PE classes reported per week was higher in schools that had two PA facilities in addition to a gymnasium (β = 1.13, p = 0.048) and in schools with greater levels of parental involvement in school-based PA decisions and programs (β = 2.06, p = 0.001). However, students in schools that provided more intramural programs reported fewer PE classes than those without (β = −1.97, p < 0.001). The number of PE classes provided in the previous week was associated with greater odds of students being highly active compared to minimally active (OR = 1.14, p = 0.003).


Organizational and structural factors within the school environment are related to the amount of PE that students receive at school. Strategies are required to resolve the resulting inequities.

Key Words

School policy physical activity school environment children 



Explorer les caractéristiques d’écoles et d’élèves du primaire associées au nombre de classes d’éducation physique (EP) reçues par les élèves et déterminer si ces caractéristiques, et le nombre de classes d’EP, sont associés aux niveaux d’activité physique (AP) des élèves du primaire.


Des modèles à niveaux multiples utilisant les données des questionnaires de l’étude PLAY-ON à l’intention des écoles (n = 30) et des élèves (n = 2 447) ont servi à explorer les facteurs scolaires associés au nombre de classes d’EP que les élèves de la 5e à la 8e année disent avoir reçues, et les associations entre ces facteurs et l’AP des élèves. Les «théories du changement organisationnel» ont servi à opérationnaliser les principaux facteurs scolaires mesurés dans l’étude, notamment les analyses: du climat organisationnel (pratiques scolaires liées à l’EP ou à l’AP), de la capacité organisationnelle (la capacité de l’école d’offrir davantage d’EP ou d’AP aux élèves) et des politiques scolaires en matière d’AP/d’EP.


Le nombre déclaré de classes d’EP par semaine était supérieur dans les écoles ayant deux installations d’AP en plus d’un gymnase (β = 1,13, p = 0,048) et dans les écoles où les niveaux d’implication parentale dans les décisions et les programmes de l’école étaient plus élevés (β = 2,06, p = 0,001). Cependant, les élèves des écoles offrant davantage de programmes intramuros ont dit avoir moins de classes d’EP que ceux des écoles sans ces programmes (β = −1,97, p < 0,001). Le nombre de classes d’EP offertes au cours de la semaine précédente était associé à une probabilité accrue d’avoir des élèves très actifs plutôt que minimalement actifs (RC = 1,14, p = 0,003).


Des facteurs organisationnels et structurels en milieu scolaire sont liés au nombre de classes d’EP que les élèves reçoivent à l’école. Il faut des stratégies pour résoudre les iniquités qui en résultent.

Mots Clés

politique scolaire activité physique milieu scolaire enfant 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel I. Naiman
    • 1
  • Scott T. Leatherdale
    • 2
  • Carolyn Gotay
    • 3
  • Louise C. Mâsse
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH) British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.School of Public Health and Health SystemsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.Child & Family Research Institute, School of Population and Public HealthUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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