SPH Brown Bag Research Presentation: Does Suing Schools Make Kids Healthier? The Impact of Litigation on Physical Education and Student Fitness in California

Seminar | October 4 | 12-1 p.m. | 5101 Berkeley Way West

 Hannah Thompson, Research Scientist, School of Public Health

 Public Health, School of

Dr. Hannah Thompson, PhD, MPH is a research scientist in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on school- and community-based methods, as well as policies, to increase physical activity, with the goals of improving youth health and decreasing health disparities.  School PE is an important tool for creating healthier, more equitable communities. However, PE is often woefully inadequate, especially in elementary schools. Litigation has recently been used in California in an attempt to increase PE provision in schools; several lawsuits have been filed against over 125 school districts found to be non-compliant with state PE law.

This presentation will discuss the benefits and limitations of using litigation to change educational practices and improve student health. It will cover findings from two RWJF-funded studies examining 1) districts’ and schools’ perceptions of the lawsuits' impact on PE quantity and quality, as well as the unintended consequences of a litigious approach, and 2) the impact of these lawsuits on students' cardiorespiratory fitness.