Physical Activity

The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grants to States Program has established 15 National Performance Measures for the 2015-2017 grant cycle. Performance Measure 8 is the percent of children ages 6-17 who are physically active at least 60 minutes per day. This evidence brief points to a selection of resources for state MCH programs about physical activity, with emphasis on evidence-based information.

Significance

The Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to States Program guidance1 defines the significance of this goal as follows:
Regular physical activity can improve the health and quality of life of Americans of all ages, regardless of the presence of a chronic disease or disability. Physical activity in children and adolescents reduces the risk of early life risk factors for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, Type II diabetes, and osteoporosis. In addition to aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, bone-strengthening activities are especially important for children and young adolescents because the majority of peak bone mass is obtained by the end of adolescence.

Read More about Performance Measure 8

Performance Measure 8

Goal

To increase the number of children and adolescents who are physically active.

Definition

Numerator: Parent report of children (ages 6-11) and adolescents (ages 12-17) who are physically active at least 60 minutes per day. (YRBSS is also available and provides self-report by adolescents)

Denominator: All children ages 6-11 years and adolescents ages 12-17.

Units: 100

Text: Percent

Healthy People 2020 Objectives

Related to Physical Activity Objective 3: Increase the proportion of adolescents who meet current federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic physical activity and for muscle-strengthening activity. (Baseline: 18.4%, Target: 20.2% for adolescents to meet current physical activity guidelines for aerobic physical activity).

Related to Physical Activity Objective 4.1: Increase the proportion of the nation's public and private elementary schools that require daily physical education for all students. (Baseline: 3.8%, Target: 4.2%).

Data Sources and Data Issues

The revised National Survey of Children's Health, beginning in 2017. States can use the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System for adolescents until 2017.

Data and Statistics

  • National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH). Funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA's) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), this survey provides national and state-level data on the physical and emotional health of American children 0 - 17 years old. Information is collected on factors related to the health and well-being of children, including access to and utilization of health care, receipt of care in a medical home, family interactions, parental health, school and after-school experiences, and neighborhood characteristics.

    Since 2003, the NSCH has provided both national and state-level prevalence estimates for a variety of child health and health care indicators. MCHB also fielded the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN) in 2001, 2005-2006, and 2009-2010. Its purpose was to assess the prevalence and impact of special health care needs among children and their families in the U.S. The 2016 NSCH underwent significant redesign and administration changes and differs greatly from the prior survey cycles. From 2016 onward, the purpose of the NSCH remains the same, but the two individual surveys were combined into a single survey conducted every year.

    You can access data from and information about the current NSCH through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health, or the U.S. Census Bureau.  Data from and information about past NSCH and NS-CSHCN are available through the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health or the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics

  • HealthyPeople 2020. Provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. Performance Measure 8 is related to the following HealthyPeople 2020 physical activity objectives:

    Objective 3 (PA-3): Increase the proportion of adolescents who meet current federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic physical activity and for muscle-strengthening activity. The data source for PA-3 is the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). States can use the YRBS for adolescents until 2017. Enter Youth Online to analyze and create custom tables and graphs and perform statistical tests on high school and middle school YRBS results from 1991 to 2013, by site and health topic (physical activity).

    Objective 4.1 (PA-4.1): Increase the proportion of the nation's public and private elementary schools that require daily physical education for all students. SHPPS was most recently conducted in 2012. The data source for PA-4.1 is the School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS), a national survey periodically conducted to assess school health policies and practices at the state, district, and classroom levels. View surveillance activities, trends, and results on physical education and physical activity.

Key Websites

Policy Recommendations

Interventions

Further Reading

Related NCEMCH Resources


1 Health Resources and Services Administration. 2014. Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to States Program: Guidance and Forms for the Title V Application/Annual Report, Appendix F, p. 81.


Physical Activity: Evidence Brief, 1st ed. (November 2014).

Authors: Jolene Bertness, M.Ed., CHES and Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S. with contributions from Beth DeFrancis, M.L.S. and Olivia K. Pickett, M.A., M.L.S., NCEMCH