The first national plan to support and encourage physical activity among all Americans was released May 3. Created through a collaboration of public- and private-sector groups, the plan offers comprehensive, research-based policy recommendations, strategies and programs across eight broad areas.
The goal is to make it easier for people to be physically active every day. Regular physical activity can help prevent childhood obesity, as well as many chronic diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
The National Physical Activity Plan includes actions that individuals, organizations, businesses and government should pursue in the eight identified areas:
- Health Care: Designate physical activity a “vital sign” that all health care providers assess and discuss with their patients.
- Public Health: Develop and maintain a diverse public health workforce with expertise in physical activity.
- Education: Provide opportunities for high-quality, comprehensive physical activity programs at every grade level.
- Business and Industry: Identify, summarize and disseminate best practices, models and evidence-based physical activity interventions in the workplace.
- Mass Media: Encourage public health agencies to form cross-sector partnerships with other agencies as well as private organizations to promote physical activity.
- Parks, Recreation, Fitness and Sports: Promote programs and facilities where people live, learn, work and play to provide easy access to safe and affordable physical activity opportunities.
- Transportation, Land Use and Community Design: Integrate land-use, transportation, community design and economic development planning with public health planning to increase active transportation and other physical activity.
- Volunteer and Non-profit: Advocate for the policies and systems changes identified in the plan with local, state and national decision-makers.
Experts from diverse fields were involved in drafting the plan, including leaders from Active Living Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Active Living Research will continue to play a key role as the plan’s implementation begins this summer.
For more information, visit the Web site of the National Physical Activity Plan: http://physicalactivityplan.org