African American Family Parents and Children Cycling
Physical activity
refers to any activity that gets the body moving. For adults, being physically active for 150 minutes per week helps reduce risk of heart disease and high blood sugar, and also helps promote emotional health and wellbeing. For women who are pregnant, physical activity helps to reduce the risk of poor maternal and infant health outcomes such as low birth weight and premature birth. For preconception women, having a healthy lifestyle can help ensure a healthy pregnancy. For parents, being a good role model helps kids to grow up with healthy behaviors. Environments that encourage walking and other movement, such as biking, can help everyone be more active and healthier.

Overview Webinar: Supporting Physical Activity: Strategies for Healthy Start Programs (Presented live 11/7/17)

Featured Resources

Use the following list of resources and strategies to find ways to promote increased physical activity among your participants and staff.  Expand each section by clicking the arrows below.

Working with participants?

Click the arrows below for resources to participants in eating healthy across the perinatal periods.

All Participants
Pregnant Participants
Postpartum Participants Parenting Participants


Looking for ideas for your program?

Creating an environment that provides opportunities for physical activity can support your participants and staff goals. Click the arrows below to find resources.

Changes to Your Healthy Start Program Setting
  • Create a space in your program facility for physical activity, such as a conference room that transforms into an active area during lunch.
  • Take standing/walking breaks during meetings. Here’s a video developed by Ms. Rochelle Culp for the Healthy Start EPIC Center to help your team get moving during a meeting!
  • Create a walking group that walks in/outside the office for 15 minutes during lunch.
  • Post signs near the elevator that encourage use of the stairs.
  • For more on these and other ideas, see page 22-23 of CDC Worksite Health Scorecard
Healthy Eating Education Courses
  • Many YMCAs offer classes about leading an active lifestyle. Check with your local program.
  • EatPlayGrow is a publicly available curriculum for families with children age 2-5. (National Institutes of Health and Children’s Museum of Manhattan)
  • Locate local classes of the evidence-based Diabetes Prevention Program.
  • I Can Do It, You Can Do It! is a health promotion program that partners with organizations to provide access to physical activity for children and adults with disabilities.


Want to tap into community efforts?

Similar to creating a supportive environment for physical activity at your program sites, Healthy Start programs should look for ways to get involved in ensuring that the neighborhoods their participants live in have safe and clean places for physical activity for both adults and children. Click the arrows below for a few ideas for supporting increased physical activity in your community.

Community Resources
  • Assess the walkability of your community and use the results to identify opportunities for making the community more walkable.
  • Encourage partners to use CoUrbanize to engage residents to share ideas via text message for community improvement projects with questions like “What should we do with this vacant lot?” Residents have advocated for parks and other venues for safe, physical activity that also contribute to increased social cohesion.