“Informing Latino Childhood Obesity Prevention: The Role of Physical Education Policies in California”
This Salud America! pilot research project uses existing data to investigate whether school district compliance with California physical education (P.E.) requirements influences fitness among the state’s Latino/Hispanic children. The study combined four sources of data: school district compliance with P.E. policies, children’s data from Fitnessgram for the school years 2004–06, California Department of Education data on district and school characteristics, and U.S. Census data. Our sample included 60,817 5th grade Latino/Hispanic students across 55 school districts. The study examined the characteristics of children by comparing children that attended schools in districts that complied with California P.E. requirements to children that attended schools in districts that did not comply with the policies. The study then conducted analyses to determine whether compliance with P.E. policies influenced Latino/Hispanic children’s fitness levels, after taking into account individual, school and district factors which might influence links between district-level policy compliance and fitness.