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Downloadable Resources

Health & Air Quality

Palo Alto

Why is Air Quality Important?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for physical activity recommend that children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily. The 2010 Shape of the Nation report from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education found that, nationwide, fewer than one-third of all children ages 6 to 17 participate in physical activity for at least 20 minutes that made the child sweat and breathe hard. A 2004 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that, for every hour people spend in their cars each day, they are 6% more likely to be obese.

Moreover, a study by the California Department of Education recently found a distinct relationship between academic achievement and the physical fitness of California’s public school students.

Check out these Local Resources for Public Health Education

  • Marin County Safe Routes to School has a Health Facts sheet with talking points about exercise, disease prevention, physical fitness, obesity, and food and transportation. The resource is also available in Spanish.
  • San Francisco Safe Routes to School also has a Health Facts handout with local information.
  • Kaiser Permanente’s "The Best Me" Healthy Eating and Active Living Assembly inspires elementary school students and their families to make healthy eating and active living choices.
  • EarthTeam’s Something's in the Air curriculum is a two-week health science unit that educates high school students about the quality of air in their schools and communities and its relationship to the incidence of asthma. Their LEAF (Leadership and Environmental Action Forum) program is a weekend of workshops encouraging students to become environmental leaders in their communities.
  • The California Safe Routes to School Technical Assistance Resource Center has links on Healthy Development that help promote physical activity and integrate health into planning.

In the Bay Area, cars, trucks, and other mobile sources are the primary sources of ground-level ozone, known as “smog.” Smog can reduce lung function, aggravate asthma, inflame and damage the lining of the lung, and may have other effects. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has additional information on Air Quality and Your Health. Walking, bicycling carpooling, and taking transit to school and other activities can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing short trips.