Leaps and Bounds: The Many Rewards of Physical Activity Infographic

Nineteen states, one U.S. territory, and 12 cities, counties or districts have recently reported declines in their childhood obesity rates. Many of these places have taken their own unique approaches to make healthy foods available in schools and communities and integrate physical activity into people's daily lives.

September 23, 2015

When we expand the availability of physical activity in schools and communities across the nation, we are not just helping to reverse America's childhood obesity epidemic—we’re also providing children a strong foundation for learning and health throughout life. Growing evidence suggests regular physical activity is positively improving academics, school climate, student behavior, and the overall health and well-being of children and youth.

Physical activity must be a part of the everyday experience for children. RWJF, our grantees and many of our partners work to ensure all school-aged children have access to a variety of physical activity opportunities and environments: in sport-based programs, school-based programs and community-based programs. Across all these settings, physical activity programming and design should be inclusive of and accessible and desirable to all children of all abilities.

Have an idea that inspires kids to get active? Share it on Twitter using the hashtag #GetKidsActive.

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Getting up and moving shouldn’t be something that’s confined to one period at school. It needs to be a fun and routine part of life—before, during and after the school day. It should be something our kids want to do, not have to do. And there should be safe and convenient places for them to do it.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA

Childhood Obesity

Since 2007, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has been dedicated to reversing America's childhood obesity epidemic. We remain committed to advancing changes in public policy, community environments and industry practices to ensure all children across the nation have opportunities to achieve a healthy weight.

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graphic Sources

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Short bouts of activity may offset lack of sustained exercise in kids. Washington, DC: National Institutes of Health; 2015.

Active Living Research. Active Kids Learn Better. Infographic. San Diego, CA: Active Living Research; 2015.

Whitt-Glover M, Porter A, Yancey T. Do Short Physical Activity Breaks in Classrooms Work? Research Brief. San Diego, CA: Active Living Research; 2013.

National Environmental Education Foundation's Health & Environment Program. Children and Nature: Being Active in Nature Makes Kids Healthier. Infographic. Washington, DC: National Environmental Education Foundation; 2012.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Does better recess equal a better school day? Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; 2013.

National Environmental Education Foundation. Children & nature: being active in nature makes kids healthier. Infographic. Washington, DC: National Environmental Education Foundation.

Nelson MC, Gordon-Larson, P. Physical activity and sedentary behavior patterns are associated with selected adolescent health risk behaviors. Pediatrics. 2006;117(4):1281-1290.

Donnelly JE, Lambourne K. Classroom-based physical activity, cognition, and academic achievement. Prev Med. 2011;52(Suppl1):S36-S42.

Sibley BA, Ward RM, Yazvac TS, et al. Making the grade with diet and exercise. AASA J Scholarship Practice. 2008;5(2):38–45.