Kremer, P.; de Silva-Sanigorski, A.; Bell, A.C.; Swinburn, B. (2013). School and neighbourhood settings support physical activity in primary school children from the Barwon South-West region of Victoria, Australia. Journal of Sport and Health Research. 5(3):259-272.



The prevalence of obesity in Australian children is high and low levels of physical activity may be contributing to this problem. The purpose of this study was to examine 1) children’s physical activity behaviours, and 2) aspects of the neighbourhood and school settings that may influence children’s physical activity. A computer assisted telephone interview of parents of 1711 5-12 year old children from 18 schools across the Barwon South-Western region of Victoria, Australia was used to collect demographic, child behaviour and neighbourhood perceptions data. Interviews with representatives of schools captured information about the school environment for physical activity. On average, children spent 73 minutes playing outside after school with boys spending more time playing outside than girls. Most children participated in at least one organised weekly activity and about half used active methods of transport to/from school. For their neighbourhood, parents reported good availability of sport, physical activity/dance programs, nearby access to at least one open-space for play and generally feeling safe. School representatives reported that most schools were committed to physical activity, had at least one physical activity policy, sufficient staff qualified to teach physical education, and adequate facilities and equipment for physical activity. Most children were regularly active and met Australian physical activity recommendations. Neighbourhood and school settings were mostly supportive of physical activity however development of written physical activity policies, enforcement of mandated physical education, better indoor play facilities and increased perceptions of neighbourhood safety are areas for improvement.




physical activity, after school play, physical education, sport, children.


Journal of Sport and Health Research - 2009