- Report

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report:

Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Youth

In December 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report: Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Youth.

This mid-course report examines the research literature and 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 midcourse report include:

School settings hold a realistic and evidence‐based opportunity to increase physical activity among youth and should be a key part of a national strategy to increase physical activity.
Preschool and childcare centers that serve young children are an important setting in which to enhance physical activity.
Changes involving the built environment and multiple sectors are promising.
To advance efforts to increase physical activity among youth, key research gaps should be addressed.
Children need 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day where they live, learn and play.
Specific to Safe Routes to School, researchers found that evidence supported three different strategies:

Multi-component school-based physical activity programs, including active transport to school along with additional PE, activity breaks in classes, and more;
Active transportation to and from schools; and
Making the built environment conducive to more active transportation, including mixed land use, population density, traffic calming and walking/bicycling infrastructure.
The report also calls out the “triple benefits” possible from active transportation to school by increasing the health of children, improving air quality and addressing environmental sustainability.

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Authored by: 
US Department of Health and Human Services