Over 10 million US children head to after school programs when the school day ends. Young people who stay for after-school programming spend a large part of their waking hours on the school campus. Out-of-School-Time (OST) programs provide youth with safety and supervision. Research shows that some OST programs can support student academic achievement and may play a role in reducing health disparities. OST programs can also provide opportunities for children to get physical activity and to learn and practice healthy eating. Additionally, programs that follow evidence-based practices aimed at improving personal and social skills of youths are linked with positive social behaviors. However, CDC research suggests that families in rural communities have less access to school-based OST programs than those in urban areas.
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