Schools across the country will now have access to step-by-step guidance and evidence to help children and youth obtain at least 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after school every day. A new guide for schools to develop, implement and evaluate comprehensive school physical activity programs has been released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD). The guide can be downloaded at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/physicalactivity/cspap.htm
According to AAHPERD Senior Program Manager Francesca Zavacky, one of the authors, “The guide can be read and utilized by a group that either already exists (e.g., school health council or wellness committee) or a new group or committee that is made up of physical education coordinators and teachers, classroom teachers, school administrators, recess supervisors, before- and after-school program supervisors, parents, and community members. It can be used to develop a new comprehensive school physical activity program or assess and improve an existing one. “
Since 2006, CDC has provided funding to AAHPERD to improve the quality of physical education and physical activity programs through a cooperative agreement project; development of the guide is an integral part of AAHPERD’s work plan activities. A writing team, made up of academic and education professionals, was assembled by the two organizations to develop earlier versions of the guide.
“Schools can create more active environments, where all students have the opportunity to be physically active at different times and places throughout the school day,” said Holly Hunt, Chief, CDC’s School Health Branch. “This is a timely and powerful tool that will assist all 50 states now funded to promote healthy school policies and practices through CDC’s cooperative agreement State Public Health Actions to Prevent and Control Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and Associated Risk Factors and Promote School Health. Specifically, many state health departments will work with schools to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school physical activity programs (CSPAP).
The guide is also the foundation for a new Physical Activity Leader (PAL) training being conducted across the country as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Active Schools initiative, of which AAHPERD is a managing partner. As part of its CDC cooperative agreement activities, AAHPERD will conduct PAL professional development training in states receiving enhanced funding as part of the CDC grants to states.
About the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)
The vision of AAHPERD is “Healthy People – Physically Educated and Physically Active!” Headquartered in Reston, VA, 25 miles west of Washington, DC, AAHPERD is the largest organization of professionals involved in physical education, physical activity, dance, school health and sport—all specialties related to achieving an active, healthy lifestyle. Founded in 1885, its mission is to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance and sport by providing its members with a comprehensive and coordinated array of resources, support and programs to help practitioners improve their skills to further the health and well-being of the American public. For more information, visit www.aahperd.org.