Socioeconomic Disparities in Elementary School Practices and Children's Physical Activity During School


  • Physical activity practices at schools may differ by school socioeconomic status.


  • The odds of having a crossing guard at low or moderate-SES schools were approximately 5 times the odds of having a crossing guard at high-SES schools (OR =5.42, 5.38).
  • Physical education teachers and principals reported encouraging active travel more at schools with low (52.6%) and moderate SES (60.6%) compared to high SES (43.8), but the odds ratios were not statistically significant.
  • Low-SES schools were less likely to have a PE teacher (OR= 0.10) and less likely have fewer than 30 students per PE lesson (OR=0.25) than high-SES schools.
  • There were no statistically significant differences by school SES in minutes of MVPA during school.


  • This research used a cross-sectional study design to compare school socioeconomic status (SES) with school physical activity practices and child physical activity during school in 97 elementary schools.
  • School SES was derived from free and reduced-price lunch participation. School physical education teachers and principals were surveyed about physical activity practices. Children moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during school was measured using accelerometers.

Carlson JA, Mignano AM, Norman GJ, McKenzie TL, Kerr J, Arredondo EM, Madanat H, Cain KL, Elder JP, Saelens BE, Sallis J.  (2014). Socioeconomic Disparities in Elementary School Practices and Children’s Physical Activity During School. American Journal of Health Promotion, 28(3), 47–54.

filed under
Main Topic
Resource Type