Physical Activity and Children and Adolescents
This knowledge path about physical activity and children and adolescents
has been compiled by NCEMCH. It offers a
selection of current, high-quality resources that analyze data, describe
public health campaigns and other promotion programs, and report on
research aimed at identifying promising strategies for improving physical
activity levels within families, schools and after-school programs,
child care and early childhood education settings, and communities.
The knowledge path also provides resources about physical activity
for children and adolescents with special health care needs. The knowledge
path is aimed at health professionals, policymakers, child
care providers, and community advocates. Separate briefs present resources for schools and families. The knowledge path will be
Activity and the Health of Young People, rev. ed. (2015) by the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This fact sheet highlights
the benefits of regular physical activity and the long-term consequences
of sedentary behavior for children and adolescents. It also presents
participation rates in physical activity and in physical education
classes for children and adolescents.
- Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN):
Moving to the Future. Offers a collection of tools
to develop successful community programs that promote healthy
eating and physical activity. Includes instructions for conducting
a community assessment, writing objectives, developing a plan, and implementing and evaluating programs.
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Supports several
initiatives and offers many resources to improve
physical activity among children, adolescents, and adults
Community Strategies. Resources for creating or modifying environments to make it easier for people to walk or bike, including tools and evidence-based health strategies for community planning, transportation, and land-use decisions, health impact assessment, joint use agreements, smart growth, and street transformations.
to Community Preventive Services: Physical Activity. Contains
recommendations for population-based interventions to increase physical
activity that are appropriate for communities and health care systems.
Recommendations are focused on interventions in three areas: (1)
campaigns and informational approaches to increasing physical activity,
(2) behavioral and social approaches to increasing physical activity,
and (3) environmental and policy approaches to increasing physical
Youth Tobacco Prevention. Offers materials to help coaches, school
administrators, and state and local health departments promote the
importance of choosing an active and tobacco-free lifestyle.
Also see these additional CDC resources: Physical
Activity Data and Statistics, Youth
Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit (2009), Adolescent and School Health Physical Activity Facts and Resources, BAM! Body and Mind, Best
Bones Forever!, Physical Activity for Everyone, and Healthy Places.
on the Run (GOTR). Offers information about this nationwide
program to promote physical activity and healthy behaviors among
girls age 8 to 13.
People 2020. Information about this national health-promotion
and disease-prevention initiative of the Department
of Health and Human Services. View the overview, objectives,
and recommended interventions and resources for physical
Physical Activity Plan. Presents a set of strategies
and tactics that aim to increase physical activity in all segments
of the U.S. population. Includes a list of publications related to the plan and contact information for state liaisons.
Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Offers
position statements, journal article abstracts, and other resources
about strength training and conditioning practices to improve
athletic performance and fitness. Topics include performance enhancing drugs education.
Activity Guidelines for Americans. Presents science-based
guidance to help Americans ages 6 and older improve their health
through participation in appropriate physical activity. Recommendations
are provided for groups such as children and adolescents, adults,
older adults, pregnant and postpartum women, and individuals
with special health care needs. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition, are planned for release by late 2018.
Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS). Contains
resources for coaches, teachers, health and fitness professionals,
and families about physical fitness. Resources include facts and statistics, research and reports, and information on programs such as Let’s Move! And PALA+, an extension of the President's Challenge.
- SHAPE America: Society of Health and Physical Educators. Includes standards, guidelines, workshops, webinars, research, and other resources about physical education, physical activity, health education, dance, school health, and sport.
- Up2Us: Harnessing the Power of Sports. Presents program information, fact
sheets, and policy briefs about using physical activity and sports
as a tool for youth development. Up2Us is a national coalition
of sports-based youth-development organizations.
Sports Foundation. Offers program and grant information
and reports, policy statements, and guides about sports and physical
activity for girls and women. Resources and initiatives include
program information, curricula, guides, and Spanish-language materials
about this effort to improve the health and wellness of girls ages
5-18 through physical activity.
Data and Statistics
Literature and Research Databases
Electronic Newsletters and Online Discussion
Resources for Families
Resources for Schools
Resources for Child Care and Early Education Programs
Resources on Specific Aspects of Physical
- Active Living
by Design (ALBD). Presents program and conference
information, reports, promising strategies, and other resources
about creating healthy eating and active living environments.
Includes a collection of recommended publications, resources,
organizations, and tools from the major fields that are considered
the foundation of the active living movement.
Living Research (ALR). Offers program information,
research briefs, bibliographies, and other tools and resources
that examine how environments and policies influence active living
for children and their families.
of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO): Smart Growth
Toolkit. Describes the components of smart growth,
including physical activity, and their importance to public health.
Gives case studies from communities around the country and links
to resources to help state and territorial health officials develop
model practices for their own communities.
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Healthy Places. Offers program and conference information,
fact sheets, journal articles, a course curriculum, and links
to a wealth of resources about the interaction between people
and their environments. Topics include children’s
health and the built environment and physical
activity. Resources and initiatives include
Assessment (HIA). Presents links to a wealth of tools to evaluate
the potential health effects of a project or policy before it is
built or implemented.
Parks, Trails, and Health. Resources to promote use of parks and trails.
Also see CDC’s Adolescent and School Health and the Guide
to Community Preventive Services.
for Healthy Communities: Active Living. Presents a collection
of materials and tools for promoting physical activity, smart
growth, and healthy community design among state and local government
leaders. A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program.
- National Center for Bicycling and Walking. Presents educational
materials and planning and implementation tools to help community
organizers make neighborhoods more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL): Healthy Community Design
and Access to Healthy Food Legislation Database. Describes
state legislation that seeks to increase access to healthy food
and opportunities for physical activity. Search for legislation
by state, topic area (e.g., Bike/Pedestrian, Physical Activity),
year, bill type, bill status, and bill number.
- Pedestrian and Bicycle
Information Center. Presents a wealth of information
and training tools about health and safety, engineering, advocacy,
education, enforcement, access, and mobility as it relates to
increasing and improving spaces for safe walking and bicycling
as a viable means of transportation and physical activity.
Special Health Care Needs
- Disabled Sports
USA. Contains program information for this national network
of community-based chapters offering a variety of sports rehabilitation
and recreation programs to anyone with a permanent disability.
- National Center on
Accessibility (NCA). Presents a webinar series,
technical reports, educational materials, articles, product listings,
and program information for consumers; health professionals;
and the parks, recreation, and tourism industries about recreation-related
accessibility issues for people with disabilities. NCA is part of Indiana University's School of Public Health.
Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD). Offers
resources about physical activity and disability that include
newsletter and fact sheets about activities, games, camps,
recreational pursuits, and sports that have been adapted to the
needs of people with disabilities. NCPAD is located at the University of Alabama.
Olympics International (SOI). Contains program and event
information for year-round sports training and athletic competitions
for children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Includes sports rules, program guides, coaching guides, articles,
and a program
locator. Special Olympics serves more than 2.5 million individuals
with intellectual disabilities in more than 170 countries.
- Popper B, Irish S, Dworetzky B, Anderson B, Minihan P, Must A.
Matters: Promoting Health and Wellness for Children with Special
Heath Care Needs—Family Booklet. Albuquerque, NM: Family
- Also see the Physical Activity Guidelines
for Americans and BAM! Body and Mind.
Related NCEMCH Resources
Physical Activity and Children and Adolescents: Knowledge
Path, 5th ed. (March 2010). (Updated: December 2016).
Author: Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S., NCEMCH; Breanne C. Wilhite, B.S.
Reviewers: Olivia K. Pickett,
M.A., M.L.S., NCEMCH.