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In motion : evaluation of a physical activity health promotion strategy for high schools



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Recently, the Saskatoon in motion physical activity health promotion initiative has worked with educators and high school administrators in the city of Saskatoon to develop a targeted physical activity strategy for high school students. The in motion high school strategy was implemented in each school by an in motion high school champion. In each school in motion could incorporate such things as announcements, bulletin boards, posters, physical activity clubs and physical activity challenges. The strategy was piloted in a Saskatoon high school previously and had positive impact on student’s activity levels. Purpose: To investigate the effectiveness of the in motion strategy at impacting the physical activity behaviour of a large sample of Saskatoon high school students, and to uncover how in motion could be better supported in the school environment. Method: in motion was implemented in eight Saskatoon high schools from October to June of the 2005/06 school year. Study participants were male and female students, from grades 9-12, attending the eight schools. The Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire was administered in October 2005 (n = 4395), and May 2006 (n = 3299) to assess self reported physical activity, and analysed using independent t-tests and ANOVA with Tukey post hoc tests.In June of 2006, questionnaires were administered to the in motion champions (n = 8). Questionnaires inquired into the specific activities and events that comprised the in motion intervention in each school and champion experiences with in motion. Information obtained led to the classification of dose of intervention implemented at each school. Schools were separated into high, moderate, and low dose categories, and a dose-response relationship between dose of intervention and change in physical activity level was investigated. Qualitative data was analysed using typological analysis, and represented as summary of responses. Results: An overall increase in self-reported physical activity was found after the implementation of the in motion physical activity intervention (t (3920.355) = -21.15, p < 0.0001). Increases were observed in all genders, grades, and schools. Two schools were deemed high dose, four moderate dose, and two low dose. No dose-response relationship was found between dose of in motion and change in physical activity or students’ opinion of how in motion impacted personal activity levels. Dose-response relationship was found between dose of intervention and recognition of in motion. Additionally, through champion questionnaires, multiple supports and barriers for the in motion intervention, and suggestions for how in motion could be improved, was given by in motion champions. Conclusions: Student opinion of in motions impact on their personal activity level indicates that in motion is a promising tool for increasing physical activity in students. Lack of dose-response relationship between intervention and physical activity change, and student opinion of how in motion has affected activity level suggests that the definition of dose is too narrow. To further support in motion in schools, more staff involvement and appropriate activities for different demographic groups are needed.



adolescents, high schools, health promotion, physical activity, schools



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Community Health and Epidemiology


Community Health and Epidemiology


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