Increased physical activity among children helps create life long healthy habits that prevent obesity. Children's participation in regular physical activity is associated with improved cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health, better mental health and emotional wellbeing, and chronic disease prevention. There also is substantial evidence showing that physically fit children perform better in the classroom. Despite the overwhelming evidence that physical activity is beneficial, however, more than half of U.S. children and adolescents are not getting enough physical activity.
After-school programs could potentially provide up to 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day, satisfying half of the national recommendation for daily physical activity. However, much work remains to be done to create more consistent policies and implement activity programs that are evidence-based. Furthermore, there needs to be efforts to monitor progress toward meeting policies and holding programs accountable.
Co-sponsored by Active Living Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this Web Forum will provide recommendations for how programs and policies can better support physical activity in after-school settings and provide examples from national and local efforts. Speakers will share success stories from the YMCA-the largest provider of after-school programs in the nation- and discuss lessons learned from initiatives that successfully increase children's physical activity levels. Speakers will also briefly explore how to promote physical activity during summertime and other academic break periods.