Exploring Physical Activity Opportunities for Adolescents in Secondary Schools in Antigua
Despite the known benefits of physical activity (PA), only 22% of adolescents in Antigua are meeting the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 60 minute a day moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) guidelines (Aguilar-Farias et al., 2018); relatedly 28.5% of adolescents in Antigua are overweight or obese (Walwyn & Hunte, 2012). The school has been recognized as a critical environment for providing opportunities for youth to engage in PA. However, little information is known about the PA context in secondary schools in Antigua. The purpose of this study was to explore the current PA opportunities and related facilities and features available in schools, the barriers and facilitators to engaging in these physical activities and ultimately gather recommendations to promote student PA in secondary schools in Antigua. Nine secondary schools were identified by the Antiguan Ministry of Education. An assessment of the PA environment in schools was completed using the ISCOLE School Audit Tool (ISAT; Broyles, 2015). In addition, eight interviews and nine focus groups were conducted with Physical Education (PE) teachers and first form (grade 7) students from each school, respectively. A socioecological model (McLeroy, Bibeau, Steckler, & Glanz, 1988; Stokols, 1996) guided the development of the interview and focus group questions; this approach allowed for a comprehensive exploration of the individual, environmental and policy-level factors that can influence student engagement in PA opportunities at school. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the ISAT data and thematic analysis was used to analyse the focus group and interview data. PA opportunities within secondary schools are influenced by factors within the social, physical and policy-level environments. More barriers than facilitators to student PA opportunities were identified by teachers and students, which was supported by the ISAT findings. To our knowledge, this study is the first to explore the PA environment in secondary schools in Antigua. Findings and associated recommendations serve as a call to action for school bodies and relevant Ministries in Antigua. Findings may be used to guide discussions on improving the PA opportunities within secondary schools in the Caribbean.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/26451
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