Considerations for Individual-Level Versus Whole-School Physical Activity Interventions: Stakeholder Perspectives

Byron P Tibbitts, Kate J Willis, Thomas Reid, Simon J Sebire, Rona M Campbell, Ruth R Kipping, Rebecca Kandiyali, Russell Jago

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract: Strategies to address declining physical activity levels among children and adolescents have focused on ‘individual-level’ approaches which often fail to demonstrate impact. Recent at-tention has been on an alternative ‘whole-school’ approach to increasing physical activity that involves promoting physical activity throughout all aspects of the school environment. There is, however, a lack of evidence on how whole-school physical activity approaches could be imple-mented in the UK. This qualitative study explored perspectives of key stakeholders on potential reasons for the lack of impact of individual-level school-based interventions on children’s physical activity, and key considerations for adopting a whole-school approach. Nineteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with a range of stakeholders involved in the implementation of physical activity programmes in UK schools. Data were analysed using an inductive approach. Respondents suggested that individual-level school-based interventions to increase physical ac-tivity often failed to consult end users in the design and were typically implemented in envi-ronments unsupportive of long-term change. They subsequently outlined specific barriers and key facilitators for the adoption and implementation of whole-school approaches in UK settings and recommended a shift in research foci towards building an evidence base around educational outcomes and whole-school implementation insights.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7628
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2021

Structured keywords

  • SPS Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences


  • physical activity
  • qualitative research
  • stakeholder perspective
  • whole school approach


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