This knowledge path about physical activity and children and adolescents
has been compiled by the MCH Library at Georgetown University. It offers a
selection of current, high-quality resources that analyze data, describe
public health campaigns and other promotion programs, and report on
research aimed at identifying promising strategies for improving physical
activity levels within families, schools and after-school programs,
child care and early childhood education settings, and communities.
The knowledge path also provides resources about physical activity
for children and adolescents with special health care needs. The knowledge
path is aimed at health professionals, policymakers, child
care providers, and community advocates. Separate briefs present resources for schools and families. The knowledge path will be
Activity and the Health of Young People, rev. ed. (2008) by the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This fact sheet highlights
the benefits of regular physical activity and the long-term consequences
of sedentary behavior for children and adolescents. It also presents
participation rates in physical activity and in physical education
classes for children and adolescents.
Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance
(AAHPERD). Includes publications, program information, electronic
discussion groups, and links to a research
consortium and each of the alliance organizations that represent
professionals in physical education, health education, recreation,
dance, and sports. The organizations are the American
Association for Health Education (AAHE), the American
Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAPAR),
Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS), the National
Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), and
the National Dance
of State and Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors (ASTPHND):
Moving to the Future. Offers a collection of tools
to develop successful community programs that promote healthy
eating and physical activity. Includes instructions for conducting
a community assessment, writing objectives, developing a plan,
and evaluating programs. ASTHPHND also presents
Need for Public Health Leadership and Capacity to Improve Health
through Physical Activity: Recommendations from the Physical Activity
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Supports several
initiatives and offers many resources to improve
physical activity among children, adolescents, and adults
Explanation of U.S.
Physical Activity Surveys. Describes and compares several
different national surveys that track physical activity in many
age groups and at several levels for the United States national
public health objectives. Also provides background information
about physical activity assessment.
to Community Preventive Services: Physical Activity. Contains
recommendations for population-based interventions to increase physical
activity that are appropriate for communities and health care systems.
Recommendations are focused on interventions in three areas: (1)
campaigns and informational approaches to increasing physical activity,
(2) behavioral and social approaches to increasing physical activity,
and (3) environmental and policy approaches to increasing physical
Activity Resources for Health Professionals. Offers information
and tools for state and local health departments, schools and universities,
community coalitions, organizations that fund public health programs,
health care systems, and other groups that have an interest in or
responsibility for increasing physical activity. Provides reports
and recommendations, data and surveillance resources,
information to assist with program planning and evaluation, and ideas
for physical activity promotion.
Marketing for Nutrition and Physical Activity. This online course
provides training for public health professionals about how to use
social marketing to plan nutrition, physical activity, and obesity-prevention
Sports Initiatives. Offers materials to help coaches, school
administrators, and state and local health departments promote the
importance of choosing an active and tobacco-free lifestyle.
Also see these additional CDC resources: Youth
Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit (2009), Healthy
Youth!, BAM! Body and Mind, Best
Bones Forever!, Physical Activity for Everyone, and Designing
and Building Healthy Places.
on the Run (GOTR). Offers information about this nationwide
program to promote physical activity and healthy behaviors among
girls age 8 to 13.
People 2020. Information about this national health-promotion
and disease-prevention initiative of the Department
of Health and Human Services. View the overview, objectives,
and recommended interventions and resources for physical
Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA). Presents
information about the National Physical Activity
Plan and its implementation along with links to fact sheets,
tools, reports, and state physical activity coalitions. NCPPA
is a coalition of public, private, and industry organizations
that advocate for policies to encourage all Americans to lead
more physically active lives. See NCPPA’s e-newsletters.
Physical Activity Plan. Presents a set of strategies
and tactics that aim to increase physical activity in all segments
of the U.S. population. The National Coalition
for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA) is coordinating the
implementation of the plan among organizations throughout the
Society of Physical Activity Practitioners in Public Health (NSPAPPH).
Presents articles, conference and program information, and links
to physical activity resources that have been developed by state
and national organizations.
Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Offers
position statements, journal article abstracts, and other resources
about strength training and conditioning practices to improve
athletic performance and fitness. Topics include anabolic steroid
Activity Guidelines for Americans. Presents science-based
guidance to help Americans ages 6 and older improve their health
through participation in appropriate physical activity. Recommendations
are provided for groups such as children and adolescents, adults,
older adults, pregnant and postpartum women, and individuals
with special health care needs. Other resources include a blog and fact
sheet for health professionals and a toolkit with posters and
other materials for organizations and communities. The guidelines
are presented by the Department
of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Materials include
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. (2008). A chapter addresses
physical activity in children and adolescents. CDC's Youth
Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit (2009) highlights strategies
that schools, families, and communities can use to support these
Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report. (2008). This report
documents the scientific background and rationale for the guidelines.
Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS). Contains
resources for coaches, teachers, health and fitness professionals,
and families about physical fitness. Resources include a physical
activity and fitness program toolkit, guides, fact sheets, research
briefs, and the President’s Challenge,
an online physical activity tracking and award program.
- Up2Us: Bring Change Through
Youth Sports. Presents program information, fact
sheets, and policy briefs about using physical activity and sports
as a tool for youth development. Up2Us is a national coalition
of sports-based youth-development organizations.
Sports Foundation. Offers program and grant information
and reports, policy statements, and guides about sports and physical
activity for girls and women. Resources and initiatives include
program information, curricula, guides, and Spanish-language materials
about this effort to improve the health and wellness of girls ages
8-18 through physical activity.
Additional Electronic Publications
See the following set of MCH Library resource briefs to identify additional data and statistics, literature and research, and programs about physical activity.
Electronic Newsletters and Online Discussion
Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).
a collection of electronic discussion groups on physical education
topics. Also offers NASPE-Forum,
a moderated electronic discussion forum for in-depth discussions
on topics of interest to physical education, sport, and physical
- National Coalition
for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA). Publishes two
News is published twice each month and contains news about
research, reports, funding opportunities, and upcoming events
on physical activity. NCPPA’s public affairs newsletter,
Advocate, is published 10 times a year and covers federal
and state legislative activity concerning physical activity.
of South Carolina Prevention Research Center. Offers
an electronic newsletter with information about research, training
opportunities, and resources regarding physical activity and
public health. Also offers a listserv to advance public health
approaches to promoting physical activity by creating a national
network of public health practitioners, researchers, and interested
- Also see the CDC’s
Healthy Community Design News Listserv and the National
Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD) News.
Resources for Families
Resources for Schools
Resources for Child Care and Early Education Programs
Resources on Specific Aspects of Physical
- Active Living
by Design (ALBD). Presents program and conference
information, reports, promising strategies, and other resources
about creating healthy eating and active living environments.
Includes a collection of recommended publications, resources,
organizations, and tools from the major fields that are considered
the foundation of the active living movement.
Living Research (ALR). Offers program information,
research briefs, bibliographies, and other tools and resources
that examine how environments and policies influence active living
for children and their families. Resources include
Living Research Literature Database. Features journal article
citations about the relationship between environment and policy and
physical activity and obesity.
Living Resource Center (ALRC). Presents educational
materials and planning and implementation tools to help community
organizers make neighborhoods more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO): Smart Growth
Toolkit. Describes the components of smart growth,
including physical activity, and their importance to public health.
Gives case studies from communities around the country and links
to resources to help state and territorial health officials develop
model practices for their own communities.
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Designing and Building
Healthy Places. Offers program and conference information,
fact sheets, journal articles, a course curriculum, and links
to a wealth of resources about the interaction between people
and their environments. Topics include children’s
health and the built environment and physical
activity. Resources and initiatives include
Environments. Presents program information and resources to encourage
environmental and policy interventions that will affect increased
levels of physical activity and improved public health by promoting
walking, bicycling, and the development of accessible recreation
Assessment (HIA). Presents links to a wealth of tools to evaluate
the potential health effects of a project or policy before it is
built or implemented.
Design News Listserv. This electronic discussion group addresses
issues related to health and the built environment. An electronic
newsletter that includes news articles, research, and updates on
conferences and events related to livability is sent to all subscribers
once a month.
Also see CDC’s Healthy Youth! and the Guide
to Community Preventive Services.
for Healthy Communities: Active Living. Presents a collection
of materials and tools for promoting physical activity, smart
growth, and healthy community design among state and local government
Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL): Healthy Community Design
and Access to Healthy Food Legislation Database. Describes
state legislation that seeks to increase access to healthy food
and opportunities for physical activity. Search for legislation
by state, topic area (e.g., Bike/Pedestrian, Physical Activity),
year, bill type, bill status, and bill number.
- Pedestrian and Bicycle
Information Center. Presents a wealth of information
and training tools about health and safety, engineering, advocacy,
education, enforcement, access, and mobility as it relates to
increasing and improving spaces for safe walking and bicycling
as a viable means of transportation and physical activity.
Special Health Care Needs
- Disabled Sports
USA. Contains program information for this national network
of community-based chapters offering a variety of sports rehabilitation
and recreation programs to anyone with a permanent disability.
- National Center on
Accessibility (NCA). Presents a webinar series,
technical reports, educational materials, articles, product listings,
and program information for consumers; health professionals;
and the parks, recreation, and tourism industries about recreation-related
accessibility issues for people with disabilities. NCA is part
of Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education,
Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD). Offers
resources about physical activity and disability that include
newsletter and fact sheets about activities, games, camps,
recreational pursuits, and sports that have been adapted to the
needs of people with disabilities. NCPAD is located at the University
of Illinois at Chicago.
Olympics International (SOI). Contains program and event
information for year-round sports training and athletic competitions
for children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Includes sports rules, program guides, coaching guides, articles,
and a program
locator. Special Olympics serves more than 2.5 million individuals
with intellectual disabilities in more than 120 countries.
- Popper B, Irish S, Dworetzky B, Anderson B, Minihan P, Must A.
Matters: Promoting Health and Wellness for Children with Special
Heath Care Needs—Family Booklet. Albuquerque, NM: Family
- Also see the Physical Activity Guidelines
for Americans and BAM! Body and Mind.
Related MCH Library Resources
Physical Activity and Children and Adolescents: Knowledge Path, 5th
ed. (March 2010). (Updated: January 2013).
Author: Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S., MCH Library.
Reviewers: Cicley Gay, Women's Sports Foundation; Olivia K. Pickett,
M.A., M.L.S., MCH Library.
Editor: Ruth Barzel, M.A., MCH Library.