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SHAPES - School Health Action Planning and Evaluation System

Teacher with students.

Since 2000, School Health Action Planning and Evaluation System (SHAPES) modules have been administered in over 2,500 Canadian schools, with over 430,000 students. These modules are used to collect and assess information on student behaviours and attitudes in the areas of tobacco use, physical activity, healthy eating and mental fitness. These data are then used to generate profiles to help schools, public health and communities take action to improve the health of young people.

SHAPES was developed by scientists at the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, in partnership with a community of researchers across the country. Partial funding was provided by the Canadian Cancer Society as part of their commitment to improving the health of Canadians.

SHAPES makes it practical to collect standardized youth health data at the school, community, provincial or national level, and at all these levels simultaneously. SHAPES can provide reports back to each of these levels (assuming sufficient sample sizes) to support planning, evaluation, interventions and research. It also makes it possible to examine the interacting effects of interventions at various jurisdictional levels.

SHAPES includes an assessment of features of school environments related to tobacco control, physical activity and healthy eating. School teams conduct this assessment using the Healthy School Planner, which is based on Canada's Comprehensive School Health Framework. Developed with the Joint Consortium for School Health, the Healthy School Planner enables schools to document current policies, identify gaps, and plan initiatives based on gaps and characteristics of the student body.

Propel scientist Dr. Jennifer Yessis, is working with a team to develop new, and revise existing, items for the Healthy School Planner. She is also conducting follow-up validation of the tool, and working to increase the use and uptake of Healthy School Planner across the country.