Dr. Terry Huang, a professor at the CUNY School of Public Health and colleagues developed a new tool to encourage students to adopt healthier physical activity guidelines.
It is well known that increasing children’s physical activity at school is a national focus to address childhood obesity. Although research has demonstrated associations between aspects of school environments and students’ physical activity, there is little literature to serve as a practical, spatially-organized resource for school designers and decision-makers. This publication describes the development of a new practical tool: the Physical Activity Design Guidelines for School Architecture. The tool aims to provide strategies for making K-12 school environments conducive to healthy physical activity, and to engage scientists in transdisciplinary perspectives toward improved knowledge of the school environment’s impact. Using a qualitative review process to develop evidence-based and theory-driven guidelines, the publication includes specific strategies in 10 school design domains. Implementation of the guidelines is expected to enable students to adopt healthier physical activity behaviors. The tool bridges a translational gap between research and environmental design practice, and may contribute to setting new industry and education standards.