Annals of Health Law
intends to achieve. For example, the purpose of maximizing community
resources supports the finding that shared use promotes greater collaboration
within governmental agencies.
The sample purpose statement in the AHA policy guidance is directly
linked to the evidence-based findings.51 It is also more expansive than simply
providing the public health message of promoting physical activity and
obesity prevention, since that message alone may not resonate with all
constituent groups. Therefore, it includes the purpose of maximizing
community resources and promoting support for schools for potential use
depending on the needs of a particular constituency.
Definitions explain and describe key terms used in the sample
legislation.52 Definitions of key terms and concepts in legislation often vary
by state and are open to varying interpretations by the courts.53 Therefore, it
is important that definitions are clear and that they define and apply
terminology in a consistent manner. For example, if a state already has a
definition of school property that encompasses indoor and outdoor facilities,
it may be important to use that definition for the purpose of consistency.
The sample definitions of AHA policy guidance include, for example, the
term “sport.”54 The AHA policy guidance defines this term as “an activity
requiring physical exertion and skill, and which by its nature and organization
is competitive, includes a set of rules and is generally accepted as being a
sport.”55 This definition clarifies and provides a common definition for use
51. A sample purpose statement language: “The purpose of this legislation is to make
school property available to community members outside of the school day for recreational
activities to support active living, reduce obesity, reduce health care costs associated with
obesity, increase community safety, maximize community resources, and promote community
support for public schools,” Id. at 4.
52. Sample definition language includes: “As used in this section [or subdivision], the
following terms have the meanings indicated: 1. ‘Non-school hours’ means any time prior to
and after regular classroom instruction on a school day, and any time during weekends,
holidays and vacation breaks. 2. ‘Public’ means members of the community, including
students during non-school hours and school staff when not working as employees of the
school. 3. ‘Recreation’ means any indoor or outdoor game or physical activity, either
organized or unorganized, undertaken for exercise, relaxation, diversion, sport, or pleasure. 4.
‘School’ means [add in existing language from state law or cross reference to existing state
law, if needed]. 5. ‘School property’ means all indoor or outdoor structures, facilities and land,
whether owned, rented or leased by the school or school district. 6. ‘Sport’ means an activity
requiring physical exertion and skill, and which by its nature and organization is competitive,
includes a set of rules and generally accepted as being a sport.” Id. at 4-5.
53. See Policies to Promote, supra note 40, at 6.