​​​​​

Physical Activity/Federal

Obesity Advocacy Glossary

Increased Access to Safe and Attractive Places for Physical Activity

Action steps to increase access to safe and attractive places for physical activity nationwide include:

  1. Advocate for Federal funding for parks and playgrounds

    Federal programs can promote the reduction of environmental barriers to an active lifestyle through the construction of safe recreational facilities, parks, playgrounds, bicycle paths, sidewalks, and crosswalks.  Interior Department agencies have established programs to welcome families to outdoor activities in our national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.  These programs should be strengthened and continued.


    Recommended by:

    For more information:

  2. Support policies that alter the built environment to promote active transit and healthy communities

    Federal policy should promote sensible, mixed use plans that give people a range of mobility choices depending upon their needs, including development strategies that incorporate green space, play areas, and opportunities for walking and biking in the context of both daily life and recreation.

    Recommended by:

    For more information:

  3. Support Safe Routes to School
    The Safe Routes to School program provides funding to states and communities throughout the country to construct new sidewalks, bike lanes, pathways and crossings to provide children and families with the option of walking or biking safely to and from school.  In addition to increasing options for safe transport, these programs also provide children with more opportunities to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives and should be expanded.

    Recommended by:

    For more information:


  4. Promote Complete Streets

    Residential and commercial areas should have "complete streets," which include sidewalks to promote walking, bike lanes for cycling and other design aspects that promote safe utilization for any mode of transportation, including pedestrians, motorists and individuals with disabilities.  Increasing and expanding safe transportation options may reduce pedestrian injuries, as well as traffic congestion, pollution and obesity.  Some states and counties have already adopted complete streets policies, and a bill has been introduced in Congress to create a national complete streets policy for all publicly-funded road projects.

    Recommended by:

    For more information:


  5. Advocate for healthy transportation policies under the Transportation Equity Act
    Federal transportation policy offers critical opportunities to promote the health and safety of our nation's children.  Non-motorized transportation, such as walking and cycling, should be encouraged and public transit should be easy to access and use.  The federal government should provide funding to communities to promote sustainability and livability, including clustering of homes, schools, offices, stores, and services.

    Recommended by:

    For more information:


Increase Physical Activity

Action steps to increase physical activity nationwide include:

  1. Improve the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act reauthorization

    Unfortunately, many schools have drastically reduced time spent participating in activities such as physical education, lunch and recess, which all contribute to an active, healthy lifestyle.  Fewer than ten percent of all public schools now offer daily physical education classes.  The next Elementary and Secondary Schools Act reauthorization should place a greater emphasis on balancing the important priorities of academic achievement in the classroom with the need to support physical education and participation in other physical activities.

    Recommended by:
  2. Support the FIT Kids Act

    The Fitness Integrated with Teaching (FIT) Kids Act is aimed at slowing the growth of childhood obesity by promoting physical education for school children through grade 12.  It would support professional development for physical education teachers, require school reporting of physical education opportunities and standards, and establish a study to examine the impact of physical activity on student achievement.

    Recommended by: