Data show that among school-age children, low physical activity, poor diet, and spending too much time being inactive are not only associated with poor health, but also with poor educational outcomes. In 2007, a new Oregon law mandated that public elementary students receive at least 150 minutes of physical education per week. Ten years later, less than 10% of Oregon public elementary schools met this goal, mainly because funding shortages kept them from hiring physical education teachers. In 2017, the Legislature amended the law to specify that in schools without physical education teachers, classroom teachers could lead the exercises.
What was needed was a curriculum to help teachers rise to the challenge. Oregon State University Extension, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Education and teachers around the state, responded with the Be Physically Active 2Day Toolkit, known as BEPA 2.0. BEPA 2.0 uses an innovative train-the-trainer delivery model. Teachers, both in and after-school, and other educators such as 4-H faculty, receive training to provide programming in a variety of formats. BEPA 2.0 curriculum aligns with Oregon’s Health and Physical Education standards and national standards and can be performed in the classroom as well as outdoors.
Since the program launched in 2018, over 1,780 educators have been trained to deliver BEPA 2.0 in Oregon. During the 2021-2022 school year, an online training option developed to meet training demand during COVID-19, expanded reach to other states, training nearly 100 out of state partners. By the end of fall 2022, over 3,000 BEPA 2.0 toolkits will have been distributed throughout Oregon and beyond, enabling increased access to opportunities for physical activity during school for over 50,000 children in Oregon alone.
Further, the effectiveness of the original BEPA Toolkit was evaluated in six schools in under-resourced communities and outcomes revealed that when teachers use the BEPA 2.0 Toolkit, children are more active and less likely to be obese.
In the winter of 2021, BEPA 2.0 was selected as a first-place national winner and first-place Western Region Winner of the School Wellness Award in the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) Annual Awards Program. Also in 2021, Epsilon Sigma Phi presented the Be Physically Active 2Day team with a distinguished team award for the West Region.