Physical activity programmes for at-risk pupils

David Lubans reviews the impact of physical activity programmes on the social and emotional well-being of pupils who are considered “at risk”

PARTICIPATION IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS important for health-related fitness and bone and cardiovascular health in young people. In addition, an active lifestyle is associated with improved self-esteem and lower rates of depression and anxiety. It is therefore not surprising that structured physical activity programmes have been identified as a potential strategy for improving social and emotional well-being in “at-risk” pupils; that is, children and teenagers who live in a negative environment and/or have not developed the skills and attributes that enable them to become responsible members of society. This is particularly important as such at-risk pupils experience rates of depression and low self-esteem above and beyond the general population.

What we know
● “At-risk” or “disaffected” pupils are those who live in a negative environment and/or have not developed the skills and attributes that enable them to become responsible members of society.
● At-risk pupils experience rates of depression and low self-esteem exceeding the general population.
● Physical activity programmes have the potential to improve social and emotional well-being in at-risk pupils in the short term. However, the long-term effects are not known.
● Schools are ideal settings for the implementation of physical activity programmes for at-risk pupils.

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Published

June 2012