School’s Out! How Are We Doing? Physical Activity Report Cards Say Not So Good

Jane WardAs the 2013-14 academic school year ends, report cards are issued across the country. Grades in academic courses, physical education and the arts can lead to celebrations of achievement, or discouragement about not making the grade.

Why should we have report cards?  After all, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” wisely observed Lord Kelvin, the 19th century Scottish scientist.

Diving into the Research Around Getting Kids Outdoors

Jane WardRichard Louv coined the term “nature-deficit disorder,” in his award winning book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. He recounts how children are spending progressively less time outdoors in free, unstructured play, and how wide-ranging the negative repercussions might be as children disconnect from the natural world.  

Why Are New Year’s Resolutions So Hard to Keep?!

Jane Ward

 Did you know that about 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year?  As you can guess, favorite resolutions include losing weight, exercising more, and saving more money.  Do you also know that ultimately only about 8 percent of resolutions are sustained?

The Role of Fun in Making Exercise a Sustainable Habit

Jane WardIn an April 2013 interview, then-US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin talked about the importance of enjoying exercise: “It's all about having healthy fun. We need to find things to make it fun, like walking. We can walk to sweat, or we can do something called a "soul stroll," or you can do walking meetings.

Back to school: What did you do on your summer vacation?

Jane WardThe back to school essay topic “What I did on my summer vacation” is a time worn favorite, particularly for elementary teachers and students.  One day late in August, Grandma asked my niece and nephews, “What was your favorite part of your vacation at the beach last week with your family?” Both of my nephews chose a bike-related activity:  “Riding my bike to the smoothie store by myself with my friend.” was the answer of my 1

America’s Fittest Cities: Neighborhood Design, Green Building, and Fitness

Jane WardIn June 2013, the American College of Sports Medicine released their most recent fitness ranking of the 50 largest US metropolitan areas. The website includes a user-friendly interactive map to show the scores and criteria breakdown for the 50 largest cities.

Health Economics, Diabetes and the Daily Trip to School

Jane WardIn March 2013, the American Diabetes Association released their most recent five-year update “The Economic Cost of Diabetes in the US in 2012,” which found that in 2012, diabetes cost the US a total of $245 billion, an increase of 41 percent from 2007.

Spring Forward with Active Living Research Meeting Highlights

Jane WardUse the extra energy and daylight of this springtime of year to help more children walk, hop, skip or bicycle to school. The Active Living Research annual conference, held in February 2013, highlighted research relevant to Safe Routes to School that can help you show the proven benefits of your program.

Two of the session presentations are highlighted below:

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