National Physical Activity Plan to be focus of Washington conference
A National Physical Activity Plan that will help Americans become physically active every day is being developed by researchers, healthcare professionals and educators throughout the United States.
A conference seeking input from policymakers, scientists, healthcare providers and leaders in public health, education, transportation, media, business and industry and non-profit organizations will be held July 1 – 2, 2009, in Washington, D.C.
University of South Carolina’s Prevention Research Center, with initial support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is taking the lead to organize the groups that will be involved in developing and implementing the National Physical Activity Plan, which is expected to be released in late 2009.
Dr. Russell Pate of the University of South Carolina, one of the nation’s leading researchers on the link between physical activity and health, said that a National Physical Activity Plan will enable communities and individuals to make the changes that are needed for fitness.
“Despite efforts to increase physical activity among children and adults, we have not seen appreciable changes,” said Pate, the university’s Vice Provost for Health Sciences and a past President of the American College of Sports Medicine.
“Heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and some types of cancers are linked to physical inactivity. Promoting increased physical activity is one of the great public health challenges of the 21st Century,” he said.
Pate said the healthcare and personal costs for treating these diseases is rising at an alarming rate, and the toll that these diseases take on families is tragic.
“The time for a National Physical Activity Plan is now. Physical inactivity is exacting a toll on our families, and children are at a great risk for long-term health problems if we don’t work as a nation to make changes.”
“Making the kinds of changes necessary to support all Americans in living a more physically active lifestyle will require a major, comprehensive and on-going effort from all facets of society,” said Colleen Doyle, Nutrition and Physical Activity Director for the American Cancer Society. “To ensure that Americans are active every day; where they live, work, play and go to school will require bold action and new and innovative strategies.”
The National Physical Activity Plan is being created following the release of the 2008 Federal Physical Activity Guidelines. The plan will identify the steps that must be taken by local, state and federal governments along with communities, corporations and schools, to ensure that children and adults can and will engage in physical activity consistent with the most recent guidelines. Examples include changes in workplace policies to provide activity, community action to ensure that recreation areas are safe, and upgrades to school physical activity programs.
“Over the past two decades, scientists and healthcare professionals have worked to understand the role that physical activity has for our health,” said Pate. “Now, we must tackle – as a nation – putting this knowledge into practice.”
Participating partners with the University of South Carolina include the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance; AARP; the American Cancer Society; Active Living Research; the American College of Sports Medicine; and the American Heart Association.