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  • Schools Provide Evidence-based Opportunity to Increase Physical Activity Among Youth

    On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new report identifying interventions that can help increase physical activity in youth aged 3-17 years across a variety of settings. The primary audiences for the report are policymakers, health care providers, and public health professionals. APTA submitted comments in December 2012 on the draft report.

    Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report: Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Youth summarizes intervention strategies based on the evidence from literature reviews and is organized into 5 settings where youth live, learn, and play: school, preschool and childcare, community, family and home, and primary health care.

     Key findings of the report suggest that: 

    • School settings hold a realistic and evidence-based opportunity to increase physical activity among youth and should be a key part of a national strategy to increase physical activity.
    • Preschool and child care centers that serve young children are an important setting in which to enhance physical activity.
    • Changes involving the built environment and multiple sectors are promising.
    • To advance efforts to increase physical activity among youth, key research gaps should be addressed.

    Other materials released by HHS include an infographic highlighting opportunities to increase physical activity throughout the day and a youth fact sheet  summarizing the report's recommendations for youth aged 6-17 years. More information can be found at www.health.gov/paguidelines/midcourse/.

    APTA has long supported HHS' efforts to increase awareness about the benefits of physical activity. It provided input on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans related to the importance of considering physical activity needs and barriers for people with disabilities. It also served on the Physical Activity Guidelines Reaction Group. The association also contributes to the Be Active Your Way Blog.    


    • I am so grateful for this issue being addressed by HHS. I recently began volunteering at a local morning fitness program for elementary students called "Fun to Run". It is an excellent example of using extra time in the day to increase physical activity and is targeted toward those students struggling in school. I have read many books and research articles on health and brain function benefits of activity, epecially in youth.I hope this sparks interest in more communities.

      Posted by Kyla Getz on 3/20/2013 3:54 PM

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