Physical activity and healthy eating environmental audit tools in youth care settings: A systematic review.

Research paper by Rahma R Ajja, Michael W MW Beets, Jessica J Chandler, Andrew T AT Kaczynski, Dianne S DS Ward

Indexed on: 13 May '15Published on: 13 May '15Published in: Preventive Medicine


There is a growing interest in evaluating the physical activity (PA) and healthy eating (HE) policy and practice environment characteristics in settings frequented by youth (≤18years).This review evaluates the measurement properties of audit tools designed to assess PA and HE policy and practice environment characteristics in settings that care for youth (e.g., childcare, school, afterschool, summer camp).Three electronic databases, reference lists, educational department and national health organizations' web pages were searched between January 1980 and February 2014 to identify tools assessing PA and/or HE policy and practice environments in settings that care for youth (≤18years).Sixty-five audit tools were identified of which 53 individual tools met the inclusion criteria. Thirty-three tools assessed both the PA and HE domains, 6 assessed the PA domain and 14 assessed the HE domain solely. The majority of the tools were self-assessment tools (n=40), and were developed to assess the PA and/or HE environment in school settings (n=33), childcare (n=12), and after school programs (n=4). Four tools assessed the community at-large and had sections for assessing preschool, school and/or afterschool settings within the tool. The majority of audit tools lacked validity and/or reliability data (n=42). Inter-rater reliability and construct validity were the most frequently reported reliability (n=7) and validity types (n=5).Limited attention has been given to establishing the reliability and validity of audit tools for settings that care for youth. Future efforts should be directed towards establishing a strong measurement foundation for these important environmental audit tools.