Children’s Physical Activity Opportunities Lacking, Survey Finds

(August 31, 2016)

Children encouraged to get active at their local parks and recreation centers

Ashburn, VA (August 31, 2016) — Typically, children are filled with energy during the summer months — running, jumping, playing and climbing. However, when they return to school, their time spent being physically active decreases, making it harder for them to live an active and healthy lifestyle. A recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) found that nearly all Americans agree children need more opportunities for physical activity — acknowledging local parks and recreation centers as part of the solution.

Virtually all of the 1,017 Americans ages 18+ polled agree that there should be more opportunities today for physical activity for children (96 percent). And while 81 percent of poll participants support children receiving additional opportunities for physical activity at school, 83 percent of Americans say local parks and recreation centers also are good places for children to take part in additional physical activities. 

“Regular physical activity plays a key role in a child’s physical and cognitive development,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA President and CEO. “That’s why it’s important for communities, with local park and recreation agencies working in conjunction with schools, to ensure there are opportunities for children to take part in physical activities year round.” 

Park and recreation agencies are committed to providing children with year-round opportunities to get active. Nearly 1,000 park and recreation sites have pledged to implement the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards as part of NRPA’s Commit to Health campaign. Now, approximately 110,000 children have improved access to healthy foods and increased opportunities for physical activity and that number continues to grow. 

Living close to parks and other recreation facilities is consistently related to higher physical activity levels for both adults and youth. Moreover, children that have easy access to a playground are approximately five times more likely to have a healthy weight than children that do not have easy access to playgrounds. 

This poll is part of NRPA’s Park Pulse, a continuing series of monthly surveys that gauge the public’s opinion on topics relating to parks and recreation. To explore previous Park Pulse survey results, visit

To view the interactive charts with the survey results, click here

To view the full-size infographic, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit


About The National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of more than 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

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Media Contacts:

Heather Williams