HHS releases follow-up report on increasing physical activity among U.S. youth
On March 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a five-year follow-up report to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report: Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Youth provides recommendations for increasing physical activity levels of American youth across five key settings: Schools, Preschool and Childcare, Community, Home, and Healthcare.
Key findings from the report include:
1. Increase opportunities for physical activity in schools. Offer students “enhanced physical education” opportunities with lesson time from well-trained specialists and instructional practices that provide more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Provide classroom activity breaks, activity sessions before or after school, and opportunities to walk and bike to school.
2. Offer more opportunities for preschoolers and children in childcare centers to be active. Increase the time they spend outside, give them play equipment such as balls and tricycles, provide trained staff to lead physical activities, and increase the time kids get to do these kinds of things.
3. Change the built environment. Improve walking and biking infrastructure, such as sidewalks, multi-use trails, and bike lanes. Increase access and proximity to parks.
4. Continue to advance research of youth physical activity interventions. More research needs to be done to study the long-term effects of physical activity interventions, determine specific intervention strategies to increase youth activity, and assess the impact of policy and programs on physical activity in children.