In-Class Physical Activity Policies

Community Commons is proud to be the home of Salud America! Growing Healthy Change; a site dedicated to empowering healthy community change for Latino children locally and across the nation.

SA logoInspiring stories and innovative ideas continue to emerge from the Growing Healthy Change site and we are thrilled to be able to share them with you.

Physical Activity as Part of the School Day

When Matt Pope, principal at DJ Red Simon Middle School in Kyle, Texas, learned that 39 percent of the students in his district were obese or overweight, he was alarmed. Then he heard that, according to research, children who are more active do better in school and that they should physically move every ten minutes and he knew it was time for action.

“The mission of Simon Middle School changed and my mission as principal changed,” said Pope, “because we have to change the lives of our students to live a healthy life where they have a healthy brain, a healthy body, and a healthy heart.”

Meanwhile in Chicago, public school officials learned that their students were also at risk. The Healthy Chicago agenda identified children ages three to seven as having obesity rates twice as high as those of children in the U.S. (22 percent vs 10 percent) and that 71 percent of high school students were not getting recommended levels of physical activity. To combat this, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) created an office of student health and wellness (OSHW) and hired a chief health officer. They then went to work on a plan to help students get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

Both districts knew that simply telling students they needed to be more active was not enough, they had to provide policy solutions to make activity a part of the school day. This included daily PE classes, in-class opportunity for movement, and after-school programs. “We engaged numerous stakeholders,” said Dr. Stephanie Whyte, Chief Health Officer for CPS. “Parents, students, experts from the field, community parters and asked ‘How do we make this happen for our district?'”

Tools to Help You Make This Change

Salud America offers detailed information about how Simon Middle School and CPS each went about their policy change work. Community Commons offers maps and data highlighting physical activity levels, state policy data, and access to recreation that can help make the case to policy makers.

No Phys Activity 2

The map below shows the C.L.A.S.S. score of each state based on physical education policy criteria established by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. You can find out more about how the scoring was assigned by clicking on the table below the map.

CLASS Score 2

Click on the photo to see the full C.L.A.S.S. scoring document.

Community Health Reports

Indicator reports offer another excellent opportunity to look at factors that affect the health of your region. Create a Community Health Needs Assessment indicator report by simply entering your state and county (or several counties) and the data automatically populate for you.

new CHNA create

From there you can explore information such as demographics, social and economic factors, and health behaviors and outcomes. The data and visual graphics are downloadable and can be put into your presentations or grant applications.

Visit our reports area to see what this report looks like for your community.

Click on the report excerpt above or visit our reports area to see what this data looks like for your community.

Unsure how to use the tools highlighted above? Our support page has short videos and how-to exercises to get you stated.

Learn more about this Salud America! success story or enjoy our other Salud Hero features

We created Community Commons to help you use the latest technology and tools to make lasting change. Share your stories and strategies so that we can collaborate and learn together.


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  1. Pingback: SaludToday Blog » Here’s How Your School Can Add In-Class Physical Activity Policies

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