About Us

About Us

Since 2001, Active Living Research has been at the forefront of building evidence about how to create communities that are great for physical activity. We have learned that communities designed for activity are better for health, economic vitality, and environmental sustainability.

Our Mission

Our mission is to work with governments, the private sector, and advocacy groups to apply the lessons of research to building great communities. We aim  to make activity-friendly communities the "norm" in the USA and beyond. We want to create models of working with communities, across boundaries, and against constraints to implement the lessons of active living research.

Our goal is to support, share and put into practice research that can promote daily physical activity for children and families across the globe. We place special emphasis on research related to children of color and lower-income children who are at highest risk for obesity.

We provide credible and action-oriented research results that address the root causes of childhood obesity and physical inactivity. With a focus on communitiesactive transportationschools, and parks and recreation, ALR works with advocates, practitioners, policy-makers and other organizations interested in reversing the childhood obesity epidemic and promoting active living.

Who we are

  • An interdisciplinary team with internationally-recognized expertise and deep connections in public health, transportation, planning, parks & recreation, school activity programs, behavioral science, and obesity prevention.
  • Experts in what works for creating communities that support active living.
  • Innovators in bringing lessons from research into practical application.
  • Conveners of the best minds and champions in active living from more than 30 disciplines.
  • Committed to creating active living opportunities for every segment of society.


Read more about our program staff.

Between 2001 and 2013, Active Living Research was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). During that time, we focused on awarding research grants to build the evidence base on policy and environmental changes that could encourage more physical activity. ALR continues to receive funding from RWJF, but now works primarily to ensure that solid evidence informs practices and policies. Learn more about our past work with RWJF.

Active Living Research is administered by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

Program Evaluation

In 2007, we began an annual survey of our grantees designed to measure the impact that our program is having on science, policy, and practice. Highlights of the cumulative results from the 2007 - 2012 grantee surveys are available here.

In 2011, the Public Health Institute conducted an evaluation of the Active Living Research program to document program processes and accomplishments, and to gather and analyze the needs and preferences of ALR's constituents. Highlights from the evaluation report are available in the 2011 Program Evaluation Executive Summary.

In 2015, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation produced a Program Results Report, summarizing our work with the Foundation since the program's 2001 inception.