School-based physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic


physical activity

How to Cite

Johnson, A., Kroshus, E., Zhou, C., Steiner, M. K., Hafferty, K., Garrett, K., & Tandon, P. (2024). School-based physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic: School-based physical activity. Journal of Healthy Eating and Active Living, 4(1), 4–18.


School closures and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic changed opportunities for youth physical activity (PA). We sought to identify school and other contextual conditions associated with youth PA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were 500 parents of children ages 6-10 years old and 500 parent-child dyads with children and adolescents ages 11-17 years old who completed a web-based questionnaire. Quotas and demographic matching were used to generate a sample that was representative of United States adults on key demographic characteristics. Multivariable linear regression was used to assess the association between days per week of at least 60 minutes of PA with school, family, and neighborhood characteristics, controlling for child age and gender. Youth engaged in more days per week of PA when they attended school in person (B=0.75, SE=0.22, p<0.001), participated in school physical education (PE) (B=0.83, SE=0.23, p<0.001), school sports (B=0.98, SE=0.25, p<0.001), and community sports (B=0.68, SE=0.23, p=0.003), and had parents that engaged in high versus low levels of PA, (B=1.22, SE=0.21, p<0.001). The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted youth PA, in part, due to restriction of school-based PA opportunities. During future pandemics or conditions that necessitate remote learning, attention to opportunities for PA outside of PE class may be important for equitable PA promotion.


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Copyright (c) 2024 Ashleigh Johnson, Emily Kroshus, Chuan Zhou, Mary Kathleen Steiner, Kiana Hafferty, Kimberly Garrett, Pooja Tandon