Exploring the potential of a school impact on pupil weight status: exploratory factor analysis and repeat cross-sectional study of the National Child Measurement Programme
Williams, James Andrew
Wyatt, Katrina M.
Henley, William E.
Public Library of Science
Schools are common sites for obesity prevention interventions. Although many theories suggest that the school context influences weight status, there has been little empirical research. The objective of this study was to explore whether features of the school context were consistently and meaningfully associated with pupil weight status (overweight or obese). Exploratory factor analysis of routinely collected data on 319 primary schools in Devon, England, was used to identify possible school-based contextual factors. Repeated cross-sectional multilevel analysis of five years (2006/07-2010/11) of data from the National Child Measurement Programme was then used to test for consistent and meaningful associations. Four school-based contextual factors were derived which ranked schools according to deprivation, location, resource and prioritisation of physical activity. None of which were meaningfully and consistently associated with pupil weight status, across the five years. The lack of consistent associations between the factors and pupil weight status suggests that the school context is not inherently obesogenic. In contrast, incorporating findings from education research indicates that schools may be equalising weight status, and obesity prevention research, policy and practice might need to address what is happening outside schools and particularly during the school holidays.
This project began as part of AJW’s doctoral studies which were funded by a Medical Research Council Doctoral Training Grant (MRC DTG PCMD/GS002) and Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter. AJW is now supported by the Farr Institute @ Scotland, which is supported by a 10-funder consortium: Arthritis Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the National Institute of Health Research, the National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (Welsh Assembly Government), the Chief Scientist Office (Scottish Government Health Directorates), (MRC Grant No: MR/K007017/1). SL, KMW, and WEH were also partially supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Copyright: © 2015 Williams et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Vol. 10, article e0145128
Place of publication