Sponsoring Academic Department
University of Maine School of Nursing
Childhood obesity has reached unprecedented levels in the United States, which often continues into adulthood. Physical activity (PA) has shown to be an effective strategy in combating obesity in children by improving cardiovascular health and decreasing metabolic disease in adulthood. This literature review explored the effect of increased access to PA opportunities in community settings on the amount of time children ages 5-18 spent being physically active. Search of the literature included Google Scholar and CINAHL databases using the following terms: “child*,” “obesity,” “physical activity OR exercise,” “built environment,” and “school.” Inclusion criteria included peer-reviewed articles published from 2017-2022 with generally healthy children ages 5-18. Out of 17 articles, 12 met search criteria. Results indicated that interventions were primarily based in school and home environments. School setting interventions consisted of structured PA programs in and after school, including activities such as dance, basketball, and increased physical education and recess. Home setting interventions included increased access to structured PA in parks and green spaces. Facilitators of PA involved safe walkability of a neighborhood, time spent outside, parental involvement in PA, and enhancement of child motivation to participate in PA, while barriers included adverse childhood events and lack of resources. Moving forward, there is a recommendation for communities to continue implementing structured PA opportunities for school-aged children in both the school and home environments.
Cobb, Kathleen; Peary, Alexandra; Ricker, Ashley; and Wilcox, Leah, "Increased Access to Physical Activity For School-Aged Children in Community Settings" (2022). Non-Thesis Student Work. 7.
post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing with all author corrections and edits)