Strengthening Opportunities for Physical Activity in Schools and the Community

By, Jacqueline Tompkins, MPH, MCHES California Department of Public Health, Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch

As one of the most populous states, the number of Californians affected by obesity and obesity-related health conditions is high and costly. Despite progress, obesity rate disparities exist. The Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) implements public health approaches to prevent obesity through statewide, regional, and local programs and partnerships. These partnerships promote healthy eating, physical activity, and food security with an emphasis on communities with the greatest health disparities. While the health, mental health, and social benefits of regular physical activity are well documented, individuals, families, and communities continue to find it difficult to get the recommended amount of physical activity. The need for physical activity turnkey programs, “how-to” resources, guides, and tools is critical for communities and CDPH is here to provide assistance.

CDPH provides state-level leadership through the development and dissemination of trainings, resources, materials, and templates that empower positive community change to yield meaningful, population-based outcomes. In addition to working on a variety of food and beverage initiatives, our program focuses on improving access to and increasing participation in regular and safe physical activity opportunities. For many, this involves connecting with preschools, childcare centers, schools, and community resources to achieve physical activity goals.

We invite others to join the movement! Use the following tools to attain a vision of well-nourished, physically active individuals living in your healthy community. To learn more and share any questions or comments, contact

MyPlay Booklet:

This resource explains active aerobic play for adults and children, including why active play is important. MyPlay communicates recommended minutes of physical activity and provides example activities to help achieve these recommendations. The booklet provides easy to follow directions on how a person can take their pulse or heart rate to distinguish between moderate or vigorous exercise levels. MyPlay offers hydration tips and suggestions for creating safe and accessible play areas within a community.

School and Community Physical Activity Infographics: 

These eye-catching, poster size infographics share examples of the types of physical activities and play opportunities schools and communities can offer. The infographics bring to life the concept of layering intervention strategies, including direct education with policy, systems, and environmental changes and social marketing. The infographics serve as a teaching tool, an inspirational guide for school and community physical activity programing, and a communications piece for partners and stakeholders. Get the School PA Infographic and Community PA Infographic.


Painting Playgrounds for Movement Guide, Stencil Kits: 

This resource, available in both English and Spanish, provides information for how to organize and implement a stencil-painting project, including how to design a playground for maximum activity to increase children’s activity levels, help children learn fundamental movement skills, and provide a foundation of lifelong, healthy physical activity habits. Painted stencils of shapes, paths, and games provide opportunities and encouragement for both structured activity and free play.


Early Care and Education Physical Activity and Nutrition Templates and Policies:

This resource focuses on physical activity, nutrition, safety, and screen time considerations for children between birth and age five with customizable physical activity and nutrition templates that can be incorporated into childcare program handbooks, parent contracts, and news/bulletin boards.


Our website is currently undergoing a transition period. Therefore, some resources shared above are not available online at this time. To obtain an electronic copy of the aforementioned resources, contact

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