2021 - Report

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back:

COVID-19’s Impact on Youth Physical Activity and Safe Routes to School

This report illustrates how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the health of youth and their families by impacting their physical activity.

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we are beginning to understand the toll taken on people’s physical activity and health. Some Americans were able to take advantage of working and learning from home, spending more time outdoors, and walking or biking in their neighborhood during the past year, but that has not been the case for everyone.The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed what research has long shown – not all communities, people, or places have the same access to safe places to recreate or to walk and wheel close to home and to every day destinations.

Our report, “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: COVID-19’s Impact on Youth Physical Activity and Safe Routes to School,” helps paint a picture of how COVID-19 has impacted physical activity for youth and families. It examines how the past year has limited opportunities for physical activity and changed the way people move throughout their communities. This report summarizes quantitative data from emerging studies and includes perspectives from Safe Routes to School practitioners and national organizations working to advance physical activity for youth and families. It also offers recommendations for supporting physical activity moving forward.