Parents’ perceptions and engagement regarding school-based physical activity promotion

Collin A. Webster*, Gabriella McLoughlin, Angie Starrett, Jillian Papa, Heather Erwin, Julian A. Reed, Russell L. Carson, Charlene Burgeson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose: This study examined parents’ perceived importance of, and engagement in, school-based physical activity (PA) promotion. 

Design: A cross-sectional, quantitative survey design was employed. 

Setting: The survey was conducted in the United States. 

Subjects: Using a probability-based panel (AmeriSpeak®), a national sample of 3599 parents was randomly recruited to participate in the survey and 1015 participants (28.2%) completed it. Parents or legal guardians of children enrolled in K-12 during the 2017-2018 school year were eligible to participate. 

Measures: The survey was developed and distributed by a national collaborative for active schools with the support of a national research center. 

Analysis: Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling and path analysis. 

Results: The data supported a 6-factor solution encompassing perceived importance of PA before, during, and after school, communication with administrators, and volunteering and participating in school-based PA (CFI =.974, RMSEA =.034, SRMR =.056). Path coefficients from perceived importance of PA before/after school to current (β =.43; 95%CI[.25,.61]) and future communication with administrators (β =.40; 95%CI[.23,.55]) were statistically significant, as were coefficients from perceived importance of PA before/after school to past (β =.60; 95%CI[.35,.83]) and current volunteering/participating in school-based PA (β =.63; 95%CI[.42,.85]). 

Conclusion: Parents’ perceived importance of school-based PA opportunities before and after school warrants emphasis in future research and advocacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1128
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number8
Early online date28 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by Nike [there is no grant number associated with this funding]


  • adolescents < age specific < specific populations
  • children
  • comprehensive school physical activity
  • family engagement
  • health policy < opportunity < strategies
  • interventions
  • physical activity
  • whole-of-school approach
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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