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National Physical Activity Plan for the U.S.

by NPAP November 17, 2009

Family walking on the beach

As important as the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are, we know that simply telling people what they should do will not necessarily enable them to act.  So, in 2007 I was excited when colleagues at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraged me to coordinate the process of developing a National Physical Activity Plan for the U.S.  To best enable increases in population levels of physical activity, we must create environments that are conducive to being active.  The National Physical Activity Plan will do just that.  A primary goal of the Plan is to encourage policy makers to affect activity-supportive change at local, state and federal levels. Proper execution of the Plan will bring about the changes necessary to allow more Americans to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines.  

Where did the impetus for the National Physical Activity Plan start?  Over the past 15 years physical activity has assumed an increasingly high profile in the public health community…in the U.S. and worldwide.  Key landmarks have included production of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health in 1996 and release of the first Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008.  I was privileged to serve on the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, and so I believe I understand well the strengths and limitations of the Guidelines.  Strengths include a very solid grounding in the pertinent scientific evidence and comprehensive recommendations for all segments of the American society.  But, by design, the Guidelines do not address the changes that we need to make in our society to enable many more people to meet the Guidelines. 

What changes will you make in your setting to increase the physical activity levels of your family members, friends and neighbors?   How might you or your organization become involved in The Plan?  If you’re not involved already and want to become so, please contact us.

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Comments

11/18/2009 3:40:31 PM #

The American College of Sports Medicine is highly involved in the creation of the National Physical Activity Plan. As part of the Plan's coordinating committee - and as an organization that helped call for the Plan's development - we're planning to reach out to our members, certified professionals, policymakers and the public to leverage it as an asset. The Plan is needed and necessary, and we're proud to help guide its direction. Our members and certified professionals are well qualified to put the Plan into action once it's launched, helping create healthier communities where they live and work.

James Pivarnik, Ph.D., FACSM, President of the American College of Sports Medicine United States |

11/20/2009 2:28:35 PM #

Yes, ACSM has made and continues to make a tremendous contribution to the National Physical Activity Plan.  That support has been very influential and is much appreciated.  

Russell Pate United States |

11/18/2009 5:06:56 PM #

I think that it's a fruitful idea to have the National Physical Activity Plan. Can I ask you how this will differ from other recommendations?

We have a challenge infront of us, as billions of dollars have been spent on promoting exercise, fitness and physical activity, yet our participation levels have remained flat. How will the plan address this issue?

I am excited to learn about these elements.

Thank you for your work.

Colin Milner

Colin Milner Canada |

11/20/2009 2:42:33 PM #

We do indeed confront a huge challenge, and we should not understate that.  But I am optimistic that the National Physical Activity Plan will address issues that cumulatively will change our communities in ways that will make them substantially more supportive of a physically active lifestyle.  

Russell Pate United States |

11/19/2009 9:10:09 AM #

Thank you for your leadership with the NPAP.  I like your closing question regarding changes to settings to increase PA levels.  It is not apparent from the working group member list for the transportation/design sector that EPA and DOT are participating (I realize that list may not be representative of current membership).  EPA, DOT, and HUD established the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.  There are a number of shared goals/needs among these two efforts.  This seems to be a great opportunity to work together.

Jane Wargo United States |

2/4/2010 12:54:20 PM #

As a London, UK based personal trainer and fitness professional I applaud this new strategy and wish that the UK govt would promote something similar.

I wonder though, how effective do you feel activity alone will be at raising the health of younger people? Do you feel that a nutritional intervention may not be the real answer to health rather than 'just' activity?

Dominik Zaerin
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Dominik Zaerin United Kingdom |

10/5/2010 12:11:25 PM #

Getting your family involved will do a world of good for you as well as your children!  Leading the way on getting them into healthy habits now will pay off in the future.  Be a healthy role model for your child - take it one step at a time, focus on one behavior at a time.  That really did the trick for me.  I subscribed to the blog below for some good, unbiased health info that helped me too: (Link Removed)

JessCham United States |

2/15/2011 10:35:47 AM #

It's always nice to see new guidlines on exercise etc. but my concern is that they never seem to make any difference, I mean usually the recommendations are so low as to make any significant difference. Also you have to take diet into consideration, I know that's probably the concern of a totally different department but if you're still eating really badly then you're exercise will be inefective. The UK government just tried a 'move more' campaign which was pretty laughable and I'm afraid the next generation if that's the best that they could come up with.

Ross (Link Removed)

Ross Adkin United Kingdom |

9/23/2011 12:03:36 PM #

Agree with Dominik - we need something similar in the UK.

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Mike United Kingdom |

4/4/2012 11:09:18 AM #

I believe that outdoor activity can do wonders for the health of younger people. Look at America, they are facing a national epidemic known as Obesity & more than 60% of their younger population is affected by this.

This is really strange, given the fact, that one would believe that a developed nation should have more healthier people. Although "nutritional intervention" can help, that is surely not a substitution for physical activity.

Simone
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Simone Smith United States |

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