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By Sarina Marsh, MSW Intern

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends children and adolescents (age 6 – 17 years) get at minimum 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Afterschool programs have the opportunity to incorporate fun and engaging physical activities for youth outside of the school day. America After 3pm, a data collecting and reporting system by the Afterschool Alliance, Kids On the Move 2014 study reported 68% of parents look at opportunities for physical activity in their decision of afterschool programming for their child.

The National Afterschool Association (NAA)’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards recommend before school and afterschool programs dedicate at least 30 minutes of their daily program time to physical activity in support of the daily requirement. In addition to healthier bodies, physical activity may help in improving students’ academic achievement and behavior.

In the state of Georgia, organizations and out-of-school time programs are making efforts to ensure students are healthy and physically active. Georgia Shape, a statewide initiative by the Governor brings together governmental, philanthropic, academic and business communities to address childhood obesity. The initiative includes increasing aerobic activity in Georgia’s youth.

HealthMPowers in Norcross, Georgia provides schools the tools and resources to improve students’ health behaviors and fitness knowledge. HealthMPowers also offers a variety of teaching aids, trainings and webinars for educators and administrators to continue the efforts of healthy development for K-12 youth.

Here are a few resources for enhancing or starting physical activities for students in out-of-school time programs:

1. Afterschool Alliance – In partnership with Quaker Chewy, the Get Active Be Healthy Afterschool Toolkit includes activities, curriculum and tips for program providers, and parents to get kids healthy and active afterschool.
2. Ohio Action for Healthy KidsOhio Kids on the Move: Afterschool Physical Activity Resource Guide provides afterschool programs guidelines for providing physical activities, examples of indoor and outdoor activities and games, and ways to involve parents.
3. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Youth Physical Activity Toolkit helps schools, families, and communities identify their role in promoting youth physical activity.