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Prevention First is an initiative by the California Department of Public Health to increase opportunities for students to participate in moderate-to-intense physical activity (PA), with a goal of 60 minutes every day. A 2013 Institute of Medicine report found that students who do this exhibit improved brain function, a greater attention span, faster cognitive processing speed, and better performance on standardized academic tests.

A guide called “Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program: A Guide for Schools” developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help educators implement PA for their students — and themselves. Components of a school PA program include enhanced physical education; PA at school, such as activity breaks integrated into each class period; and staff involvement, such as onsite walking clubs, fitness classes, stretching at meetings, etc.

Go to cdph.ca.gov and search for Prevention First to download the guide.