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How do schools contribute to physical activity?

Schools are a critical venue for the accumulation of physical activity as children and youth spend a substantial amount of their waking hours at school. Schools can provide equipment and space to be physically active, as well as necessary programming and education to instill the importance of physical activity for overall health and fitness.

The School indicator refers to the implementation of active school policies, provision of physical activities at school, as well as access to necessary facilities and equipment to support physical activity.

The Total Physical Fitness Program, a state-wide, longitudinal initiative implemented in 91% of schools (n=6101) in the southern Indian state of Kerala, is targeting children (n=2,334,739 in 2009/2010) to improve their physical fitness. Physical activity programming, specifically organized sports, is also provided across 100 cities in India by a private organization. These unpublished data however, are not nationally representative.

Since 2010, the Central School Board for Secondary Education instituted a policy (Circular No. 71) requiring schools to provide opportunities for at least 40-45 minutes of physical activity during school hours for grades 1 to 10, and at least two periods (90-120 minutes/week) of physical activity /games/mass physical education training/yoga for grades 10 to 12. However, this school board is not representative of all schools in India, and although there is some indication of other schools instituting similar curricula and policies, valid independently collected data would be needed to ascertain the school infrastructure, policies and programs.

An INC grade was assigned as there was insufficient information available about schools across India.

School: Infrastructure, Policies and Programs           INC

            

Definition:

The proportion of schools implementing active school policies, providing opportunities to be physically active at school, and enabling access to necessary facilities and equipment to support physical activity.

The grade of incomplete (INC) indicates that there was insufficient information available to assess this indicator.