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50 Million Strong for All: Universally Designing CSPAPs to Align with APE Best Practices

Ali Brian, Michelle Grenier, Lauren J. Lieberman, Cate Egan, & Sally Taunton

The prevalence of sedentary behavior and obesity are considered a pandemic (Kohl et al., 2012). American children demonstrate critically high levels of sedentary behavior (Kohl et al., 2012), especially those with a documented disability (Maher, Williams, Olds, & Lane, 2007). As a result, today’s youth are the first generation predicted to have a shorter lifespan than their parents (Olshansky et al., 2005). Engaging in 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is a well-documented strategy that has important health-related benefits. Moreover, participating in 60 minutes of daily MVPA is not only positively associated with health-enhancing levels of physical fitness, but also with improved academic and social outcomes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], 2008). As a result, the SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators created the 50 Million Strong by 2029 (50MS) initiative to “ensure that by the time today’s preschoolers graduate from high school in 2029, all of America’s students are benefiting from the skills, knowledge and confidence to enjoy healthy, meaningful physical activity,” (

Time in schools amounts to 8-9 hours of a child’s day (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2013) and schools are considered a prime avenue to promote 50MS and help children reach 60 minutes of daily MVPA (CDC, 2013; Pate et al., 2006, USDHHS, 2008). Although physical education and recess are the typical vehicles through which children receive PA during school, schools are now transitioning into more comprehensive, collaborative, school-based efforts called comprehensive school physical activity programs (CSPAPs). However, many children like Henry are not always provided opportunities to participate in regular PA. In many cases, this lack of PA or sedentary behavior may contribute to surging levels of obesity (Robinson et al., 2015; Saunders, Chaput, & Tremblay, 2014).

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