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December 15, 2015 5:32 PMCategory: Physical Activity

Partnering4Health: Brain Boosts with the American Heart Association

In September AHA logo2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a multi-year initiative to prevent and control chronic disease at the community level. Named the National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention — or Partnering4Health — five organizations are working with selected chapters and affiliates to strengthen health in their communities.

A member of the Partnering4Health project, Plan4Health is collaborating with the American Heart Association (AHA), National WIC Association (NWA), Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE), and Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) to support 97 coalitions across the country.

Complementing the work of Plan4Health, AHA’s ANCHOR (Accelerating National Community Health Outcomes through Reinforcing Partnerships) initiative is also working to increase opportunities for physical activity and increase access to healthy food and beverages.

A leader in all things related to heart health, AHA’s recent research supports walkable communities as a means to prevent chronic disease. As reported in Medical Daily, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods positively impact blood pressure, making it easy for residents to incorporate physical activity in their daily lives.

Read more about ANCHOR’s early success working with students and teachers in Oregon to incorporate physical activity into the school day:


An inactive childhood is likely to lead to an inactive adulthood, a major contributor to chronic disease. This pattern of inactivity can be adjusted early in life, and because kids spend the majority of their waking hours at school, schools have a tremendous opportunity to increase physical activity throughout the day.

The American Heart Association’s initiative, Oregon Kids Move with Heart partnership, is collaborating with the Beaverton School District to increase physical education and activity throughout the day. The school district’s Active Students Task Force is piloting innovative strategies in selected schools to increase physical activity by 50 minutes per week in elementary schools by beginning the day with 10 minutes of movement. In middle schools, physical activity “Brain Boosts” are incorporated throughout the school day.

This work is part of a larger movement to support schools in meeting the new requirements for physical education that will soon go into effect in all Oregon school districts. Oregon schools will need to provide 150 minutes of physical education per week for students in grades K-5 and 225 minutes per week for grades 6-8 by the 2017-2018 school year. House Bill 3141 (now ORS 329.496) was passed in 2007, with 10 years given to ramp up physical education programs.

The Challenge

One in three youth ages 2-19 are overweight or obese. Children who are overweight from ages 7 to 13 may develop heart disease as early as age 25. The school day is a key opportunity to provide physical education, activity and a culture of healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

The American Heart Association recommends kids get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day. The Oregon Department of Education reported that during the 2013-14 school year, kindergarten-fifth graders received an average of only 40 to 74 minutes of physical education instruction a week and sixth-eighth graders received only 141 to 154 minutes per week.

The Solution

Oregon AHA 2Kids Move with Heart partnership is working with the Beaverton School District to increase physical education and activity opportunities throughout the school day.

The district created the Active Students Task Force to support implementation of the mandate and create innovative strategies for compliance. Through this collaborative partnership, evidence-based multimedia instructional aids and materials have been made available for teachers as a Physical Activity Toolkit. Elementary schools participating in Beaverton School District’s Active Students Task Force pilot program are increasing physical activity by 50 minutes each week by beginning each school day with 10 minutes of activities from the toolkit, and middle schools are increasing activity by incorporating “Brain Boosts” throughout the day.

In addition to the toolkit, experts in the field of physical education and movement led professional development workshops for school staff. The American Heart Association and Beaverton School District are in collaboration to highlight successes in various local and state media.


AHAOregon Kids Move with Heart kicked-off with a week of professional development activities to get teachers ready to incorporate movement throughout the day. This included workshops from guest speakers nationally known for their expertise on physical activity in schools.

Scott Williams, a PE teacher and educator of the year in Virginia, shared his passion for movement and dance in the classroom. Alex O’Brien, a trainer with Focused Fitness, explained how activity can affect short- and long-term academic retention and highlighted how students can learn math and English through fitness games.

A total of 168 staff members from the Beaverton School District attended one or more of the kickoff training events — including classroom teachers, physical education teachers, principals, and instructional assistants. The kick-off received media coverage from television, print and radio outlets.

Sustainability Efforts

Additional experts will be brought in for professional development workshops in January and April 2016. Significant outreach will build support and momentum for schools to meet the new requirements.

The Active Students Task Force will draw in other schools to the pilot program and also help focus on school sports and movement throughout the school day.

Policy, System and Environmental Change

In 2007, the Oregon governor signed House Bill 3141 requiring K-5 students receive physical education 150 minutes per week and students in grades 6-8 receive 225 minutes a week. At least 50 percent of the physical education class time is to be actual physical activity with as much time as possible spent in moderate physical activity. Schools have until 2017 to meet the requirements.

Get Involved

Connect with your school to get kids more physically active. Follow the action on social media at #BSDBrainBoost or #ORKidsMoveWithHeart.

Images from AHA’s ANCHOR.