Implementation of CDC Guidelines for Recess: A Formative Research Study

Shazeen Suleman, Gabriela Calderon Velazquez, Tania Haag, Ryan Connor, Beth Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes recess as an essential part of overall child development in schools, impacting children’s cognitive, socioemotional and physical health and development. However, recess is often removed from the school curriculum in exchange for more classroom activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SHAPE America developed Strategies for Recess in Schools to promote high-quality recess through specific actions, yet is not known how these are successfully implemented, particularly, in underserved settings. This formative research study examined the implementation of the CDC strategy in an urban, inner-city charter elementary school to identify barriers and facilitators to successful recess implementation from the perspective of various stakeholders. Thirteen in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with parents, teachers, recess monitors, and school administrators. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded for thematic analysis, supported by group discussion and analytic memos. Results suggested that although stakeholders recognized the importance of recess, the implementation of the CDC strategy was neither uniformly understood nor implemented, suggesting that additional frameworks may be helpful in implementing the CDC strategy in schools in underserved communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-91
Number of pages11
JournalHealth promotion practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • child/adolescent health
  • coordinated school health programs
  • health education
  • health research
  • physical activity/exercise
  • program planning and evaluation
  • qualitative research
  • recess
  • school health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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