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Am J Public Health. 2015 Mar;105(3):421-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302325. Epub 2015 Jan 20.

Opportunities for public health to increase physical activity among youths.

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Katrina L. Piercy is with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, US Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD. Joan M. Dorn, Janet E. Fulton, and Sarah M. Lee are with the US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Kathleen F. Janz is with the Department of Health and Human Physiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City. Robin A. McKinnon and Richard P. Troiano are with the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. Russell R. Pate is with the Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia. Karin A. Pfeiffer is with the Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing. Deborah Rohm Young is with the Department of Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena, CA. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey is with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ.


Despite the well-known benefits of youths engaging in 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, physical inactivity remains a significant public health concern. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG) provides recommendations on the amount of physical activity needed for overall health; the PAG Midcourse Report (2013) describes effective strategies to help youths meet these recommendations. Public health professionals can be dynamic change agents where youths live, learn, and play by changing environments and policies to empower youths to develop regular physical activity habits to maintain throughout life. We have summarized key findings from the PAG Midcourse Report and outlined actions that public health professionals can take to ensure that all youths regularly engage in health-enhancing physical activity.

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