J Public Health Manag Pract 2010 Jul-Aug;16(4):359-66
Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina 27834, USA.
The purpose of this article is to describe the rationale and procedure employed in developing the Move More North Carolina: Recommended Standards for After-School Physical Activity, which was publicly released statewide in April 2009. The Standards outline evidenced-based best practices for after-school programs to implement in order to increase amount and quality of physical activity (PA) among program participants. The Standards can be applied in any after-school program and were developed to benefit the approximately 152,000 school-aged children who are served by NC after-school programs each year. These programs often serve children at high risk for physical inactivity, including children from racial/ethnic minorities, impoverished areas, with disabilities, and/or living in neighborhoods with limited PA opportunities. The rationale for developing standards for PA in after-school programs is threefold: (1) such programs can provide enjoyable, safe, and age-appropriate PA; (2) they can facilitate family involvement, community partnership, and increase access to PA resources; and (3) they serve children at risk for inactivity. Recommended best practices are included for the following categories: time/intensity, qualified staff/training, curriculum, program size, facilities, equipment, and evaluation. Methods used to inform The Standards included a planning team, on-line surveys, focus groups, a systematic literature review, a consensus panel, and external expert review. The impact of The Standards is yet to be seen, but the collaborative process used in their creation can serve as a model for the development of similar PA standards in other states.