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.6
Family and community engagement benefits students by1:
- Improving grades and test scores.
- Encouraging better student behavior.
- Enhancing social skills.
- Increasing physical activity.
Involve Families in Physical Activity in Schools [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.
CDC developed the following documents:
- Parents for Healthy Schools [PDF – 9.3 MB]—A set of resources for schools to use to engage parents in positively changing the school environment in physical activity.
- Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health[PDF-1.74MB]—Defines and describes engagement between parents and school staff and identifies specific strategies for all three aspects of parent engagement in schools: connect, engage, and sustain.
- CDC’s Promoting Parent Engagement in School Health: A Facilitator’s Guide for Staff Development[PDF-2.9MB]—Helps schools develop a plan for engaging parents in school health activities.
- CDC Ideas for Parents for Physical Education and Physical Activity
- Active People, Healthy NationSM
- CDC: Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health (2012) [PDF – 1.8 MB]
- A Decade of Promise: Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs Practices for Physical Educators and Physical Activity Professionals
- 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.
- 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 www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/siteASCD/publications/wholechild/wscc-a-collaborative-approach.pdf [PDF-2.24MB].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School health guidelines to promote healthy eating and physical activity. MMWR. 2011;60(RR05):1–76.
- 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.
- Institute of Medicine. Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2013.
- 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 https://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/obesity-child_research.pdf [PDF – 14 MB].