School Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPAN)

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Project Overview

SPAN is the School Physical Activity and Nutrition Project. The overall goal of SPAN is to establish a surveillance system to monitor the prevalence of overweight/obesity in school-aged children in Texas. This surveillance system allows researchers to identify and track trends in childhood obesity. In addition, SPAN identifies factors in Texas students that may underlie obesity, including dietary behaviors, nutrition knowledge and attitudes, and physical activity.

Research details and past surveys are available on the Details tab (see above).

Project Details

The overall goal of SPAN is to establish a surveillance system to monitor the prevalence of overweight/obesity in school-aged children in Texas. This surveillance system allows researchers to identify and track trends in childhood obesity. SPAN identifies factors in Texas students that may underlie obesity, including dietary behaviors, nutrition knowledge and attitudes, and physical activity.  This funding allows for a replication of the SPAN survey for 2009-2010 augmenting SPAN surveys in 2000-2002 and 2004-2005.  The current SPAN will include probability based sampling of students in 4th, 8th, and 11th grade, with a concurrent sampling of 4th grade student parents and a Texas-Mexico border-specific sample. A paper detailing the main results of SPAN for 2009-2011 is currently in process.

Who conducted it?

The SPAN Project was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health, with funding from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

What kind of information was collected during SPAN?

SPAN data collection consisted of (1) administration of a questionnaire which assesses food choice behaviors, food selection skills, weight perceptions and practices, nutrition knowledge, attitudes about food and eating, and physical activity behaviors; and (2) height and weight measurements.


Research Details

Years Administered:

  • 2000-2002
  • 2004-2005
  • 2009-2011
  • 2015-2016

Population: Texas students and their parents

  • 2000-2002: 4th, 8th and 11th graders
  • 2004-2005: 4th, 8th and 11th graders
  • 2009-2011: 4th graders and their parents; 8th and 11th graders
  • 2015-2016: 2nd and 4th graders and their parents; 8th and 11th graders

Sample Size:

  • 2000-2002: 15,164 students
  • 2004-2005: 23,190 students
  • 2009-2011: 14,191 students and 3,733 parents

Past Surveys:

Past versions of the SPAN Survey are available below in PDF format.

4th Grade

8th-11th Grade

Parents

2000-2002

English / Spanish English / Spanish -

2004-2005

English / Spanish English / Spanish -

2009-2011

English / Spanish English / Spanish English / Spanish

The 2015-2106 SPAN Survey is currently in progress.

Validation/reliability (4th grade):

Thiagarajah K, Fly AD, Hoelscher DM, Bai Y, Lo K, Leone A, Shertzer JA.  Validating the food behavior questions from the elementary school SPAN questionnaire.  J Nutr Ed Behav.  2006; 38/ 4; S55.

Penkilo M, George G, Hoelscher DM. Reproducibility of the School Based Nutrition Monitoring Questionnaire among Fourth Grade Students in Texas. J Nutr Ed Behav. 2008: 40/1; 20-27.

Additional references and citations are available by clicking the Publications tab above.

General information about use of the SPAN Survey:

  • The SPAN Survey is not copyrighted and may be used without written permission from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health.
  • We ask that we are cited in any manuscripts (see Publications tab) using the SPAN tools.
  • We are also happy to help anyone wanting to use the survey tools with needed protocols, analysis directions, and logistics in conducting research using the SPAN tools. Please contact the SPAN Project Director, Carolyn Smith at Carolyn.L.Smith@uth.tmc.edu
Thumbnail image for Child Obesity in Texas

Child Obesity in Texas

9/20/17 - Child obesity rates and statistics on obesity-related health behaviors from the 2015-2016 SPAN Survey results.

Thumbnail image for Obesidad Infantil en Texas

Obesidad Infantil en Texas

9/20/17 - Las tasas de obesidad infantil y las estadísticas sobre los comportamientos de salud relacionados con la obesidad a partir de los resultados de la encuesta SPAN 2015-2016.

Thumbnail image for 2015-2016 SPAN Fact Sheets

2015-2016 SPAN Fact Sheets

9/19/17 - Download detailed 2015-2016 SPAN Survey results, sorted into one-page fact sheets by grade (2nd, 4th, 8th, and 11th) and Health Service Region.

Thumbnail image for Child Obesity in Texas infographic (One-Page Printable)

Child Obesity in Texas infographic (One-Page Printable)

9/1/14 - Child obesity rates and statistics on obesity-related health behaviors from the 2009-2011 SPAN Survey.

Thumbnail image for Child Obesity in Texas infographic

Child Obesity in Texas infographic

9/1/14 - Child obesity rates and statistics on obesity-related health behaviors from the 2009-2011 SPAN Survey.

Thumbnail image for SPAN Survey Fact Sheets

SPAN Survey Fact Sheets

9/1/14 - Download detailed 2009-2011 SPAN Survey results, sorted into one-page fact sheets by grade (4th, 8th, and 11th) and Health Service Region.

Thumbnail image for Training on Measuring Heights & Weights

Training on Measuring Heights & Weights

6/12/13 - In this video we demonstrate the proper protocol for conducting height and weight measurements.

Thumbnail image for Entrenamiento Para Medir Alturas y Pesos

Entrenamiento Para Medir Alturas y Pesos

6/1/13 - En este video se demuestra el protocolo adecuado para la realización de medidas de altura y peso.

Bullied Status and Physical Activity in Texas Adolescents

(Case KR, Pérez A, Saxton DL, Hoelscher DM, Springer AE; Health Educ Behav; 2015)

Socioeconomic inequalities in children's diet: the role of the home food environment

(Ranjit N, Wilkinson AV, Lytle LM, Evans AE, Saxton D, Hoelscher DM; Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act; 2015)

The association between sports participation and dietary behaviors among fourth graders in the School Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey, 2009-2010

(Dortch KS, Gay J, Springer, AE, Kohl, HW, Sharma, SV, Saxton, DL, Hoelscher, DM.; American Journal of Health Promotion, 2014)

Environmental characteristics and student physical activity in PE class: findings from two large urban areas of Texas

(Skala KA, Springer AE, Sharma SV, Hoelscher DM, Kelder SH; J Phys Act Health; 2012)

The effects of acculturation on healthy lifestyle characteristics among Hispanic 4th grade children in Texas public schools, 2004-2005

(Lind C, Mirchandani GG, Castrucci BC, Chavez N, Handler A, Hoelscher DM; J Sch Health; 2012)

Association between depressed mood and perceived weight in middle and high school age students: Texas 2004-2005

(Schiefelbein EL, Mirchandani GG, George GC, Becker EA, Castrucci BC, Hoelscher DM; Matern Child Health; 2012)

Are adolescents' perceptions of dietary practices associated with their dietary behaviors?

(Velazquez CE, Pasch KE, Ranjit N, Mirchandani G, Hoelscher DM; J Am Diet Assoc; 2011)

Physical activity, watching television, and the risk of obesity in students, Texas, 2004-2005

(Pérez A, Hoelscher DM, Springer AE, Brown HS, Barroso CS, Kelder SH, Castrucci BC; Prev Chronic Dis; 2011)

Physical activity participation by parental language use in 4th, 8th, and 11th grade students in Texas, USA

(Springer AE, Lewis K, Kelder SH, Fernandez ME, Barroso CS, Hoelscher DM; J Immigr Minor Health; 2010)

Dietary and activity correlates of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adolescents

(Ranjit N, Evans MH, Byrd-Williams C, Evans AE, Hoelscher DM; Pediatrics; 2010)

Parental influences on television watching among children living on the Texas-Mexico border

(Springer AE, Kelder SH, Barroso CS, Drenner KL, Shegog R, Ranjit N, Hoelscher DM; Prev Med; 2010)

A descriptive study of beverage consumption among an ethnically diverse sample of public school students in Texas

(Evans AE, Springer AE, Evans MH, Ranjit N, Hoelscher DM; J Am Coll Nutr; 2010)

Changes in the regional prevalence of child obesity in 4th, 8th, and 11th grade students in Texas from 2000-2002 to 2004-2005

(Hoelscher DM, Kelder SH, Pérez A, Day RS, Benoit JS, Frankowski RF, Walker JL, Lee ES; Obesity; 2010)

Observable weight distributions and children's individual weight assessment

(Brown HS III, Evans AE, Mirchandani GG, Kelder SH, Hoelscher DM; Obesity; 2010)

Television viewing and snacking behaviors of fourth- and eight-grade schoolchildren in Texas

(Vader AM, Walters ST, Harris TR, Hoelscher DM; Prev Chronic Dis; 2009)

Validating the food behavior questions from the elementary school SPAN questionnaire

(Thiagarajah K, Fly AD, Hoelscher DM, Bai Y, Lo K, Leone A, Shertzer JA; J Nutr Educ Behav; 2008)

Crime rates and sedentary behavior among 4th grade Texas school children

(Brown HS, Pérez A, Mirchandani GG, Hoelscher DM, Kelder SH; Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act; 2008)

Differences in food consumption and meal patterns in Texas school children by grade

(Pérez A, Hoelscher DM, Brown HS, Kelder SH; Prev Chronic Dis; 2007)

Measuring the Prevalence of Overweight in Texas Schoolchildren

(Hoelscher DM, Day RS, Lee ES, Frankowski RF, Kelder SH, Ward JL, Scheurer ME; Am J Public Health; 2004)

Photo of Deanna Hoelscher

Deanna Hoelscher, PhD, RDN, LD, CNS, FISBNPA

Photo of Adriana Pérez

Adriana Pérez, PhD

Photo of Carolyn Smith

Carolyn Smith

Project Director, Texas SNAP-Ed Evaluation; School Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) Project Director; Texas Grow! Eat! Go! (TGEG)/Project Director; Texas Childhood Obesity Prevention Policy Evaluation (T-COPPE)/Project Coordinator