Policy Changes to Implement Intramural Sports in North Carolina Middle Schools: Simulated Effects on Sports Participation Rates and Physical Activity Intensity, 2008–2009
Published Date:Jan 16 2014
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 11.
Extracurricular school sports programs can provide adolescents, including those who are economically disadvantaged, with opportunities to engage in physical activity. Although current models favor more exclusionary interscholastic sports, a better understanding is needed of the potential effects of providing alternative school sports options, such as more inclusive intramural sports. The purpose of this study was to simulate the potential effect of implementing intramural sports programs in North Carolina middle schools on both the rates of sports participation and on energy expenditure related to physical activity levels.
Simulations were conducted by using a school-level data set developed by integrating data from multiple sources. Baseline rates of sports participation were extrapolated from individual-level data that were based on school-level characteristics. A regression model was estimated by using the simulated baseline school-level sample. Participation rates and related energy expenditure for schools were calculated on the basis of 2 policy change scenarios.
Currently, 37.2% of school sports participants are economically disadvantaged. Simulations suggested that policy changes to implement intramural sports along with interscholastic sports could result in more than 43,000 new sports participants statewide, of which 64.5% would be economically disadvantaged students. This estimate represents a 36.75% increase in economically disadvantaged participants. Adding intramural sports to existing interscholastic sports programs at all middle schools in North Carolina could have an annual effect of an additional 819,892.65 kilogram calories expended statewide.
Implementing intramural sports may provide economically disadvantaged students more access to sports, thus reducing disparities in access to school sports while increasing overall physical activity levels among all children.
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