Family and Community Engagement

Family and community engagement in physical activity means that parents, school staff, out-of-school time providers, and community members are working together to increase opportunities for physical activity before, during, and after the school day to improve the learning, development, and health of children and adolescents.1–5 School physical activity programs are more successful when family and community members are involved.

Family and community engagement benefits students by1:

  • Improving grades and test scores.
  • Encouraging better student behavior.
  • Enhancing social skills.
  • Increasing physical activity.
Family and Community Engagement Data and Policy

Involve Families in Physical Activity in Schools pdf icon[PDF – 281 KB]—This data brief defines family engagement in physical activity, provides a snapshot of current family engagement practices to support physical activity in the United States, and highlights ways to improve family engagement in physical activity through national guidance and practical strategies and resources.

Supporting Family and Community Engagement in Physical Activity

CDC developed the following documents:

Parents for Healthy Schools: A Guide For Getting Parents Involved From K-12 Cover

Parent Engagement: Strategies For Involving Parents in School Health Cover

CDC’s Promoting Parent Engagement in School Health: A Facilitator’s Guide for Staff Development Cover

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2012.
  2. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community: A Collaborative Approach to Learning and Health 2014. Retrieved from pdf icon[PDF-2.24MB]external icon.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School health guidelines to promote healthy eating and physical activity. MMWR. 2011;60(RR05):1–76.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Guide for Developing Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2013.
  5. Institute of Medicine. Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2013.
  6. Wang Y, Wu Y, Wilson RF, et al. Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs: Comparative Effectiveness Review and Meta-Analysis. Comparative Effectiveness Review No. 115.  Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2013. Retrieved from icon.