Physical Education Research. What's the evidence? pages:55-66
This paper will focus on children’s active and inactive lifestyles and the role of the school health policy to enhance participation in physical activity. Whether you are a child, adolescent or adult, the evidence is conclusive that regular physical activity is important for your health. Results from a cross-sectional survey among 1008 9 to 10 year old Flemish children showed that the majority of these young people (71%) were involved in organised out of school sports activities. However, the average intensity of sports participation was low to moderate, especially among girls. In addition to this, no clear relationship between screen-based sedentary behaviour and physical activity was found, suggesting that there is time for both sedentary and active behaviour throughout the day. Within the framework of the Health Promoting School concept, schools are important agents in promoting positive health behaviour related to an active lifestyle. Based on the results of a school questionnaire concerning the school’s physical activity policy, the majority of investigated primary schools provided a variety of opportunities to enhance engagement in physical activity. Nevertheless, setting up a walking school bus or bicycle train as an active transportation system and increasing the involvement of multiple stakeholders (e.g. parents, pupils, external partners) in the making of school health policies were detected as important challenges for schools. In the near future, a more comprehensive examination of the methods by which schools can influence the risk and health behaviour of their pupils is needed.