First Advisor

Kenneth Still

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Studies: Health Sciences and University Honors


Health Studies


School recess breaks -- Oregon -- Portland -- Case studies, School children -- Oregon -- Portland -- Economic conditions -- Case studies, Academic achievement -- Oregon -- Portland -- Case studies, Low-income students, Educational equalization




This thesis examines the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and the amount of outdoor time in public elementary schools in Portland, Oregon. "Outdoor time" is defined as the percentage of the school day spent at recess. SES is determined based on the percentage of children at each school who receive free or reduced price lunch. Schools with a higher percentage of students who receive free or reduced lunch are considered lower SES than schools with a lower percentage of students who receive free or reduced lunch. A review of the current literature provides evidence that time spent outdoors has a positive effect on children’s social skills, ability to concentrate, self-esteem, health and development, whereas low SES is linked to poor literacy, poor health, and behavior problems. Data regarding the frequency and duration of recess, PE, field trips, and school gardens for each of the elementary schools was collected and analyzed. The results of this study indicate that higher SES elementary schools spend more time outdoors than low SES schools. Because SES correlates to academic achievement, children who attend high-poverty schools are already at a disadvantage and a lack of outdoor time amplifies this problem. This study proposes that the Portland Public School system address the inequity regarding school outdoor time and its relationship with SES in order to regain equity between schools and achieve its goal for every student to, "[…] meet or exceed academic standards and […] be fully prepared to make productive life decisions," (Portland Public Schools, 2014).


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier