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

  • 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.
  • National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH). Examines the physical and emotional health of infants and children from birth to age 17. The website provides descriptions of the survey, questionnaires used in the survey, and datasets. It has been conducted in 2003, 2007, and 2011-2012. States can use the revised NSCH beginning in 2017. The Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health provides tools for searching and comparing NSCH data. View the most recent data related to Performance Measure 11 (physical activity) here. To find earlier data, use the Keyword Search box.

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