Defining Standards and Policies for Promoting Physical Activity in Afterschool Programs

Michael W. Beets, Megan Wallner, Aaron Beighle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Background: National guidelines exist that define " quality" afterschool programs (3-6 pm, ASP). No widely adopted national standards/policies exist, however, for ASP providers for the promotion of physical activity (PA). To address this gap, state-level ASP organizations have developed or adopted standards/policies related to PA. The extent to which standards and policies are uniform and disseminated is unclear. The purpose of this study was to review state-level ASP documentation to identify standards/policies for promoting PA within the ASP setting.Methods: A systematic review of state-level ASP organizations' standards/policies was conducted to identify documentation that included language explicitly defining or related to the promotion of physical activity within ASP. State-level ASP organizations were identified from registries available from national ASP organizations. Documentation was retrieved from online sources and reviewed using a standardized content analysis protocol.Results: Quality ASP definitions were retrieved from 47 states. Of these, 14 incorporated language related to the promotion of PA. This included the provision of adequate outdoor space for attendees to be active, provision of frequent PA opportunities, and promoting physical development. A total of 5 states had standards/policies that explicitly identified the amount of time for attendees to be physically active during ASP attendance, while 3 states outlined standards/policies regarding core competencies for ASP providers to promote PA.Conclusions: Overall, standards/polices related to promoting PA within ASP were largely absent. Those that do exist, however, can provide a foundation for future empirical tests. The testing of these standards/policies will assist in the development of national guidelines to promote PA within the ASP setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-417
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Child and adolescent health
  • Health policy
  • Program planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Philosophy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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