The 2014 Report issued last week discusses the issue of physical activity using an ecological model of public health. This approach to looking at physical activity examines how policy and the environment influence behavior. This includes things FAR beyond just eating right and exercising which, unfortunately, many people think is the simple solution to our chronic disease problems. This ecological approach examines things that are often overlooked and includes things like transportation, workplace, household and family influence, neighborhood, access to opportunities like programs, and how physical activity can be influenced by these things. (See The Weight of the Nation Article Here).
The report card also serves as a resource for data to use to advocate for resources that support and promote physical activity. Parents, teachers, professionals and leaders can all use this information to demonstrate the need for improved policy and allocation of resources to support physical activity for our youth.
The 2014 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth can viewed in its entirety here. It includes “grades” in the following areas:
- Overall physical activity
- Sedentary behaviors
- Active transportation
- Organized sport participation
- Active play
- Health related fitness
- Family and peers
- Community and the Built Environment
- Governmental Strategies and Investments
The report is disappointing, but not surprising. We have to do better by the most susceptible members of our society.