Can Schools Play a Role in Increasing Physical Activity in Parents and Teachers? A New Approach for Behavior Internalization in Adults


Ata Pourabbasi 1 , * , Amir Hossein Shams 2 , Amin Shakarami 3

1 Diabetes Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Faculty of Science, Biopharmaceutical Sciences, University of Ottawa

3 Faculty of Psychology, Allameh TabaTabaee University, Tehran, Iran

How to Cite: Pourabbasi A, Hossein Shams A, Shakarami A. Can Schools Play a Role in Increasing Physical Activity in Parents and Teachers? A New Approach for Behavior Internalization in Adults, Asian J Sports Med. 2017 ; 8(1):e40598. doi: 10.5812/asjsm.40598.


Asian Journal of Sports Medicine: 8 (1); e40598
Published Online: December 25, 2016
Article Type: Letter
Received: July 3, 2016
Revised: November 27, 2016
Accepted: December 12, 2016

Dear Editor,

In today’s communities, there is a trend of sedentary life habits spreading all over the world (1). According to some reports, 21.5% of the Iranian population are physically inactive (2). The reason for most of noncommunicable diseases could be sedentary or low activity lifestyle (3). It’s worthy of note that there are researchers trying to fight the current situation through proper education at schools for the next generation (4).

A school is a place where children will learn about social interaction amongst their friends, and see their teachers as perfect examples of social role models. School, as part of its roles, is responsible for cultivation and behavioural adaptation, hence a crucial learning platform in a community.

There has been a lot of research on the importance of school-family relations towards an effective behavioural adaptation, all insisting on family’s role for internalization of children and youth’s behaviour (5). Therefore, different models have been applied to strengthen the families’ role, aligning it with school teachings such as academy of parents, and the centre for consultation of families at schools (6). Studies proved that teaching life skills to families, has decreased destructive behavioural disorder in children (7). Beside children and youth’s behavioural adaptation in schools, behaviour internalization for adults and families has been under study too. An example of this experimental behavioural adaptation is the successful police-mate program throughout Iran, which has decreased car accidents and traffic law violations for about 18%. considering the results, it is practical to take advantage of schools additionally as means of behavioural adaptation for physical activities in adults.

Based on the latest statistics published in Iran, there are 19 million mothers, fathers and teachers connected to schools through their children or students (8). This consists of 25% of the country’s population, which would be accessible for behavioural adaptation through schools.

There are possible interventional actions, regarding this population, to internalize physical activities, such as family discussion sessions, individual consulting and scheduling to increase families’ physical activities, families’ participation during PE classes, employing schools’ free space for family physical activities, opening athletic clubs at school with families’ participation, “Friday Sports” with parent and student participation, “PE homework” for students in cooperation with their parents etc.

It’s also possible to use schools as a platform for behavioural adaptation in terms of role modelling for physical activity. So, increasing physical activity amongst teachers may have two benefits. First, teacher as a role model for student and second, advantages that sports have for teachers themselves.

Of course, one must know that school-based interventions for behavioural adaptation in adults may be faced with limitations. Based on the Trans Theoretical Model, schools are effective platforms preparing individuals for change, yet in further steps the society must be prepared to take them in (9). Authors are trying to run some interventions for evaluating the effectiveness of this model of behavior internalization in adults.


  • 1.

    Pierre N, Appriou Z, Gratas-Delamarche A, Derbre F. From physical inactivity to immobilization: Dissecting the role of oxidative stress in skeletal muscle insulin resistance and atrophy. Free Radic Biol Med. 2016; 98 : 197 -207 [DOI][PubMed]

  • 2.

    Koohpayehzadeh J, Etemad K, Abbasi M, Meysamie A, Sheikhbahaei S, Asgari F, et al. Gender-specific changes in physical activity pattern in Iran: national surveillance of risk factors of non-communicable diseases (2007-2011). Int J Public Health. 2014; 59(2) : 231 -41 [DOI][PubMed]

  • 3.

    Viitasalo A, Eloranta AM, Lintu N, Vaisto J, Venalainen T, Kiiskinen S, et al. The effects of a 2-year individualized and family-based lifestyle intervention on physical activity, sedentary behavior and diet in children. Prev Med. 2016; 87 : 81 -8 [DOI][PubMed]

  • 4.

    Macridis S, Garcia Bengoechea E, McComber AM, Jacobs J, Macaulay AC, Members of the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project-School Travel Planning C. Active transportation to support diabetes prevention: Expanding school health promotion programming in an Indigenous community. Eval Program Plann. 2016; 56 : 99 -108 [DOI][PubMed]

  • 5.

    Lundahl B, Risser HJ, Lovejoy MC. A meta-analysis of parent training: moderators and follow-up effects. Clin Psychol Rev. 2006; 26(1) : 86 -104 [DOI][PubMed]

  • 6.

    Negreiros J, Miller LD. integrating school-based family counseling into school psychology practice. Br J Educ Soc Behav Sci. 2014; 4(7) : 883 -96

  • 7.

    Nematollahi M, Tahmasebi S. The effect of coping skills training for parents of children whit behavior problems. J Fam Res. 2014; 10(38) : 159 -74

  • 8.

    how many students and teachers do we have? 2015

  • 9.

    Marshall SJ, Biddle SJH. The transtheoretical model of behavior change: a meta-analysis of applications to physical activity and exercise. Ann Behav Med. 2001; 23(4) : 229 -46 [DOI]

  • Copyright © 2016, Sports Medicine Research Center. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.