The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance recently released its 2018 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. The report card assesses levels of physical activity and sedentary behavior in American children and youth, as well as facilitators and barriers to physical activity, and health outcomes related to physical activity. This important advocacy tool is a call-to-action for decision-makers regarding how parents, teachers, health professionals, community leaders, and policy makers can work toward improving the physical activity levels and health of children and youth.
The third comprehensive assessment of U.S. children’s physical activity, this report updates the first Report Card in 2014 and the second in 2016. While the overall physical activity grade for children and youth remains low with an overall grade of D-, the 2018 report card reveals positive signs, especially regarding opportunities and infrastructure that support physical activity.
Promising highlights from the Report Card:
- Almost all school districts have policies requiring schools to meet the physical education needs of students with disabilities.
- Approximately 75% of 6 to 17-year-old children live in a neighborhood with sidewalks or walking paths.
- Approximately 77% of 6 to 17-year-old children live in a neighborhood with a park or playground area.
- More than 50% of children and high school students have played on a sports team in the past year.
- Approximately 65% of school districts have policies requiring elementary schools to provide regularly scheduled recess, while another 31% of districts recommend elementary schools do so.
- More than half of children aged 6 to 15 years have adequate muscular endurance.
- More than 70% of school districts have a policy that requires undergraduate or graduate training in PE or a related field for newly hired staff who teach PE in elementary, middle school and high school.