Background:

The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance partnered with physical activity experts to develop a report card that provides a comprehensive assessment of physical activity among United States children and youth.

Methods:

The 2014 U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth includes 10 indicators: overall physical activity levels, sedentary behaviors, active transportation, organized sport participation, active play, health-related fitness, family and peers, school, community and the built environment, and government strategies and investments. Data from nationally representative surveys were used to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the physical activity indicators. The Committee used the best available data source to grade the indicators using a standard rubric.

Results:

Approximately one-quarter of children and youth 6 to 15 years of age were at least moderately active for 60 min/day on at least 5 days per week. The prevalence was lower among youth compared with younger children, resulting in a grade of D- for overall physical activity levels. Five of the remaining 9 indicators received grades ranging from B- to F, whereas there was insufficient data to grade 4 indicators, highlighting the need for more research in some areas.

Conclusions:

Physical activity levels among U.S. children and youth are low and sedentary behavior is high, suggesting that current infrastructure, policies, programs, and investments in support of children’s physical activity are not sufficient.

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Dentro and Katzmarzyk (corresponding author: peter.katzmarzyk@pbrc.edu) are with Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA. Beals is with the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh. Crouter is with the Dept of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, The University of Tennessee. Eisenmann is with the Dept of Radiology, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. McKenzie is with the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University. Pate is with the Dept of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina. Saelens is with the Dept of Pediatrics, University of Washington. Sisson is with the Dept of Nutritional Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Spruijt-Metz is with the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research, University of Southern California. Sothern is with the Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Program, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.