Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

December 2018

Physical Activity for Kids Gets Low Grade

By Dave Ramont

The National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) is a "comprehensive set of policies, programs and initiatives that aim to increase physical activity in all segments of the U.S. population." And the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA) is a coalition of national organizations joining forces to ensure the long term success of the plan.

Recently, NPAPA released its 2018 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, which aims to assist teachers, parents, health professionals, community leaders and other decision-makers with implementing new policies, initiatives and programs designed to increase kids' physical activity levels, as well as providing accountability. And while there were encouraging signs related to opportunities and infrastructure supporting physical activity in children and youth, the overall physical activity grade was a disappointing D-.

The Report Card includes individual state data and gives grades for nine specific indicators of a child's access to and participation in physical activity, as well as recommendations for how grades can be improved. The Organized Sport Participation and Community and Built Environment indicators both received a 2018 grade of C. The Physical Fitness indicator was given a C-, while the Sedentary Behaviors indicator received a D. Overall Physical Activity, Active Transportation and School were all given a D-, while the Active Play and Family and Peers indicators each received a grade of Incomplete.

The 2018 Report Card also identifies gaps existing in certain demographics. For instance, regarding gender, approximately 35 percent of high school boys, but only 18 percent of high school girls report participating in at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity. And when it comes to age, those aged 6 to 11 take part in more physical activity (88 minutes a day) compared to those aged 12 to 15 (33 minutes), and 16 to 19 (26 minutes).

When it comes to place of residence, children aged 6 to 11 residing in high-crime neighborhoods participate in less physical activity than those living in low-crime neighborhoods. And safe neighborhood park access was linked to more physical activity among adolescents aged 12 to 17.

Children with mobility limitations may engage in less physical activity than those without limitations; 58 percent of boys aged 5 to 11 years with long-term mobility limitations met physical activity recommendations compared to 75 percent of boys without limitations.

Some positive highlights include:

  • More than 50 percent of children and high-schoolers played on a sports team in the past year.
  • Approximately 75 percent of 6- to 17-year-olds live in neighborhoods with sidewalks or walking paths, or with a park or playground area.
  • Approximately 65 percent of school districts have policies requiring elementary schools to provide regularly scheduled recess, with another 31 percent of districts recommending they do so.
  • Most school districts have policies requiring schools to meet the physical education needs of students with disabilities.
  • More than half of kids aged 6 to 15 have adequate muscular endurance.

Russell Pate, board chair for NPAPA, said that while the positive results are encouraging and provide a glimpse into what's possible, there's no denying that the overall grades remain critically low. "This report card should generate a renewed sense of urgency to take the action needed for the sake of our children and their future."

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Outdoor Recreation Adds Billions to U.S. Economy - November 2018

Nearly $1 Million in Pool Grants Awarded - November 2018

Report: One in Four Americans Use a Health Club - November 2018

New Active Transportation Program Aims to Boost Health & Environment - November 2018

Foundation Celebrates Sports Innovations - October 2018

Grant Awarded to Chattanooga Nature Play Area - October 2018

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Grant Program Funds Keep America Beautiful Initiatives - October 2018

Nation's Pediatricians Emphasize Power of Play - October 2018

Step Into Swim Continues to Create New Swimmers - September 2018

Pickleball Benefits Older Adults - September 2018

NSPF Endorses MAHC Adoption - September 2018

Cities Spend More on Public Parks in 2018 - September 2018

Be Ready for Back-to-School Sports - August 2018

NRPA, Pool Safely Partner on Water & Recreation Safety - August 2018

States Make Progress Toward Active Transportation - August 2018

IHRSA Briefing Looks at Club Employees vs. Contractors - August 2018

ACSM & Wellcoaches Expand Offerings for Fitness Pros - July 2018

Grants Help Local Trail Projects - July 2018

Grant to Boost Meals & Nutrition for Kids - July 2018

Trust for Public Land Releases ParkServe Database - July 2018

CPSC Asks for Vigilance to Prevent Child Drowning - July 2018

TPL Earns NEA Grant to Explore Creative Placemaking - June 2018

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Make a Splash Campaign Teaches Millions to Swim - June 2018

Communities Can Earn Grants for Dog Park Development - June 2018

National Golf Day Celebrates Green Practices - May 2018

YMCA Recognized for Diversity - May 2018

Americans Support Pollinator Health, And Parks Can Help - May 2018

How to Encourage Play—Everywhere! - April 2018

Partnership, Grants to Boost Mountain Bike Trail Development - April 2018

Parks & Recreation Supports More Than 1.1 Million Jobs - April 2018

Club Pilates Grows With New Training Facility - April 2018

IHRSA Sees Positive Growth for Fitness Pros - April 2018

Denver's Freedom Park Wins Grant for Public Art - March 2018

NSPF, Counsilman-Hunsaker Partner to Create App for Aquatic Facility Managers - March 2018

More Than 330 Million Recreation Visits Recorded in 2017 for National Park System - March 2018

Study Shows Economic Benefits of the Great Outdoors - March 2018

Parks for Inclusion Initiative Aims to Expand Reach to All Americans - February 2018

SHAPE America, NFL & Partners Collaborate on Training for Health & P.E. Educators - February 2018

CPSC Offers $1.1 Million in Pool Safely Grants - February 2018

Bipartisan PHIT Act Could Boost America's Wellness - February 2018

China Plant Shutdowns May Affect Pool Operations & Budgets - January 2018

Arlington County 'Pulls Together' to Remove Invasive Plants - January 2018

Youth Sports Participation Increases for Underserved Kids - January 2018

Study: Physical Activity Boosts Learning Time - January 2018

Preventing Germs in Gyms: What Works? - December 2017

Study: Laws Reduce Recurrent Concussions - December 2017

Grants Awarded for Urban Water & Wildlife Habitat Restoration - December 2017