Physical education policy compliance and Latino children's fitness: Does the association vary by school neighborhood socioeconomic advantage?

Research paper by Emma V EV Sanchez-Vaznaugh, Lisa L Goldman Rosas, José Ramón JR Fernández-Peña, Jonggyu J Baek, Susan S Egerter, Brisa N BN Sánchez

Indexed on: 08 Jun '17Published on: 08 Jun '17Published in: PloS one


To investigate the contribution of school neighborhood socioeconomic advantage to the association between school-district physical education policy compliance in California public schools and Latino students' physical fitness.Cross-sectional Fitnessgram data for public-school students were linked with school- and district-level information, district-level physical education policy compliance from 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, and 2000 United States Census data. Multilevel logistic regression models examined whether income and education levels in school neighborhoods moderated the effects of district-level physical education policy compliance on Latino fifth-graders' fitness levels.Physical education compliance data were available for 48 California school districts, which included 64,073 Latino fifth-graders. Fewer than half (23, or 46%) of these districts were found to be in compliance, and only 16% of Latino fifth-graders attended schools in compliant districts. Overall, there was a positive association between district compliance with physical education policy and fitness (OR, 95%CI: 1.38, 1.07, 1.78) adjusted for covariates. There was no significant interaction between school neighborhood socioeconomic advantage and physical education policy compliance (p>.05): there was a positive pattern in the association between school district compliance with physical education policy and student fitness levels across levels of socioeconomic advantage, though the association was not always significant.Across neighborhoods with varying levels of socioeconomic advantage, increasing physical education policy compliance in elementary schools may be an effective strategy for improving fitness among Latino children.