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New Federal Report on Physical Activity Focuses on Opportunities for Youth
Washington, D.C. – In an effort to increase physical activity levels of all American youth, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released the report today, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS MIDCOURSE REPORT: STRATEGIES TO INCREASE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AMONG YOUTH, as a five-year follow-up to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
The PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS MIDCOURSE REPORT identifies interventions that can help increase physical activity in youth in a variety of settings. The report outlines evidence-based recommendations for focusing more efforts on five key settings including: schools, preschools and childcare centers, community, family and home, and primary care locations.
The trend continues toward decreased physical activity among youth, which increases the risk of several chronic diseases in children 6-17 years of age. The 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) found that youth are still not getting the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Research also shows that only 29% of high school students are physically activity for 60 minutes or more a day during a 7-day period, while 14% are not participating in any type of physical activity on any day during a 7-day period.
As the report notes, schools offer a practical opportunity to increase physical activity among youth. More than 95 percent of youth are enrolled in schools, and a typical school day lasts approximately 6 to 7 hours, making schools an ideal setting to provide physical activity to students. In addition, more than 4.2 million young children (about 60% of children ages 3 to 5 who are not attending kindergarten) are enrolled in early care and education settings in the United States; the evidence suggests that well-designed interventions can increase physical activity among these children.
“There are so many moments throughout the school day—from quality PE to recess to classroom activity breaks—where children can have the opportunity to be active. This not only helps keep them physically fit, but evidence also shows that it helps them perform better in the classroom, as well.” - Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, Midcourse Report subcommittee chair, President’s Council member, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
“This important new report from the Department of Health and Human Services provides powerful support for the elements of the National Physical Activity Plan that emphasize the critical role that our schools can and should play in providing children with the physical activity they need to be healthy and fit.” - Russell Pate, PhD, President, National Physical Activity Plan Alliance
“The RRCA: Kids Run the Nation program is perfectly positioned to help address the recommendations in the report. The Kids Run the Nation Program is a gender inclusive, multi-week, turnkey, youth running program designed to meet the physical activity goals outlined in the report. Through this program, the RRCA’s vision is to help establish locally managed, youth running programs in every grade school in America.” - Jean Knaack, Executive Director, Road Runners Club of America
For more information about the PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS MIDCOURSE REPORT, visit www.health.gov/paguidelines.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report was completed by a subcommittee of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. The subcommittee’s work was coordinated and managed by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.