Does your school building get learners to move?

Over the past few years a lot has been done to promote physical activity. Parks, open spaces, cycling paths and walking trails was created in communities. If you look at childhood obesity that’s still rising and how physical activity can improve concentration, this is something that should receive special attention in school environments.

The school environment should promote physical activity.  Most schools built in the heart of big cities in South Africa don’t have a lot of space. However, a lot can still be done to ensure that school children have spaces to engage in physical activity.

Using the built environment as an intervention for improving physical activity offers many advantages. Unlike individual-level approaches, developing a supportive environment has the potential to achieve the biggest reach for long-term, population-wide improvements in physical activity levels, and facilitate behaviour change maintenance. The current child obesity epidemic if not addressed at school level and is likely to continue to college, University and the workplace.

There are different ways in which schools can change their built environment even without the required space:

  • Provide neat and nicely designed walking trails to make physical activity fun.
  • Innovate and make use of existing infrastructure in a way which supports physical activity e.g. the school hall can double up as an indoor netball court
  • Encourage the use of stairs

You might want to read more about seating arrangements in class.