Development History

Did You Know ...

Active commuting to school is one way for children and youth to increase their daily level of physical activity. Research has shown that youth who actively commute to school tend to be more physically active overall, have greater cardio-respiratory fitness and have healthier body weight.
Source: Rosenberg, D. E., Sallis, J. F., Conway, T. L., Cain, K. L. & McKenzie, T. L. (2006). Active transportation to school over 2 years in relation to weight status and physical activity. Obesity, 14(10), 1171-1176. 25 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2009). Walking and biking to school, physical activity and health outcomes. Active Living Research, May issue

SHAPES is the result of a collaborative effort from a large community of researchers across Canada. Some key milestones and contributions are outlined below.

  • The idea for SHAPES came of out a randomized controlled trial of smoking prevention programs. The Waterloo Smoking Prevention Project 3 found that, despite their prevalence, social-influence-based deterrents were not effective in most schools. However, they had a significant positive effect in high-risk schools, suggesting that interventions should be targeted to be most effective. In response, Propel researchers Steve Brown, Roy Cameron and Steve Manske, along with Allan Best (University of British Columbia) discussed possible ways to support evidence-informed public health planning. This led to the initial development of SHAPES.
  • An advisory group of stakeholders from the public health, education, health charities and research sectors was created to ensure that SHAPES would be practical and useful.
  • Researcher Donna Murnaghan (University of Prince Edward Island) was instrumental in using SHAPES in the first census of a province. Her study, which comprises all of PEI's high school students, examines the effects of school policy interventions.
  • Through her work on Project Impact, Chris Lovato (University of British Columbia) developed both student- and school-level tobacco use questionnaires and examined school smoking policy documents. This enabled her to analyse how school policy affects tobacco use and formed the basis for the SHAPES school-level tobacco module.
  • Dietician Rhona Hanning (University of Waterloo) gathered representatives from research, policy and practice to identify key measures of healthy eating in schools. This work evolved into the current student- and school-level Healthy Eating Modules.
  • Susanne Wong developed a physical activity survey as part of her doctoral dissertation work. She also validated the survey, which now forms the basis for the SHAPES student-level physical activity module.
  • Scott Leatherdale (University of Waterloo) extended the SHAPES concept for use with younger grades with the PLAY ON study. Since then, he has been the primary scientist in taking SHAPES results and producing academic publications.
  • The SHAPES Positive Mental Health Module was initially developed by Bill Morrison as part of the Healthy New Brunswick En Santé study. The study examined tobacco use, physical activity, and healthy eating using existing SHAPES modules and created a survey for mental health which has since been incorporated into SHAPES.
  • Joanne Beyers (Sudbury District Health Unit) and Christina Kroeker (Propel) were key to developing the School Health Environment Survey, which formed the basis for the current Healthy School Planner.
  • Ongoing developments include the creation of core indicators and measures (CIM): Steve Manske (Propel) is leading the development of tobacco CIM; Antony Card (Memorial University of Newfoundland) and Marg Schwartz (APPLE Schools) are leading the development of physical activity CIM; and PJ Naylor (University of Victoria) and Karen Strange (University of Victoria) are leading the development of healthy eating CIM.