Research Brief: School-based physical activity interventions that include policy changes together with improving physical activity opportunities may be the most effective approach for improving student fitness

Jun 10, 2024

A new research brief developed by the Nutrition Policy Institute highlights promising school-based CalFresh Healthy Living—California's SNAP-Ed program—physical activity interventions. The study used latent class analysis to describe the predominant combinations of CFHL physical activity interventions implemented in California public schools in partnership with local health departments. Using Fitnessgram data from over 440,000 students in nearly 4,300 schools, the researchers assessed whether intervention combinations were associated with student cardiorespiratory fitness, as measured by V02 max. The study found that students in schools with CFHL interventions focused on establishing or improving wellness policies and increasing opportunities for physical activity had better cardiorespiratory fitness than students in schools without CFHL interventions or in schools with other types of CFHL intervention combinations. The peer-reviewed study was authored by Sridharshi Hewawitharana, Gail Woodward-Lopez, and Wendi Gosliner from the Nutrition Policy Institute, Punam Ohri-Vachaspati and Francesco Acciai from Arizona State University, and John Pugliese from the California Department of Public Health. The research brief was created by NPI's CalFresh Healthy Living Evaluation Unit, including: Summer Cortez, Reka Vasicsek, Miranda Westfall, and Sridharshi Hewawitharana.

By Summer Cortez
By Miranda Renee Westfall
Editor - Academic Coordinator
By Sridharshi Hewawitharana
Editor - Research Data Analyst
By Danielle Lee
Editor - Director of Communications & Research Engagement