Active Living Research

An RWJF National Program

Active Living Research is an ongoing national program to identify environmental factors and policies that can substantially increase levels of physical activity, with an emphasis on children and families in low-income areas, and to provide policy-makers with evidence about how to create more activity-friendly communities.

The program's specific objectives are to:

  • Establish a strong research base regarding the environmental and policy correlates of physical activity.
  • Help build a transdisciplinary field of physical activity, policy and environmental researchers.
  • Facilitate the use of research to support policy change.

Key Results

  • Between April 2001 and June 2008:

    • The national program office funded 122 research studies, including 21 dissertation grants, six diversity partnership grants and 11 case studies. A substantive proportion of these studies addressed barriers to and/or strategies for creating more physical-activity friendly environments and promoting everyday physical activity in high-risk, low-income and racial/ethnic minority populations and communities. A significant portion of all grants focused on children, adolescents and their families.
    • Funded investigators published more than 98 papers in peer-reviewed journals, including in special issues, special sections or supplements of four journals supported by the program.
    • As of September 2006, 15 investigators reported that their Active Living Research grant helped them leverage $8.7 million in other funds, or about $580,000 per investigator.
    • As of June 2006, funded investigators reported the development of 121 new courses, seminars, lectures, supervision or other educational programs related to active living at their educational institutions.
    • The national program office helped create a $20-million obesity and built environment initiative led by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in cooperation with other National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).