Voices of the NPAP

Saleia Afele-Faamuli

 

Saleia Afele-Faamuli, PhD, MPH
National Program Leader
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA

 

 

Which of the 8 Sectors are you involved in and why did you choose that particular sector?
I identify with the Public Health Sector due to the thrust of my 30+ years of work experience in promoting overall community health and well-being through nutrition education and physical activity. I've been in the land grant system for 30 years including the last 9 years in NIFA. NIFA works primarily with Land Grant institutions in the nation to support research, education, and extension in food and agricultural sciences and related fields. I began at the University of Hawaii Manoa Campus before moving to American Samoa Community College to institute EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) and assist in developing the Land Grant Program in 1982. Right from the start I promoted and integrated nutrition and physical activity in classroom and community curricula for all age groups. These important sciences must go hand in hand. And the Land Grant system has it!

What's most exciting to you about the U.S. having a National Physical Activity Plan?
Similar to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, the federal government has released the comprehensive Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. This is exciting! We have arrived! Nutrition and physical activity partnership is a must for all Americans! Making daily healthy food choices is just as important as making daily physical activity moves and strides. As research shows, the combined nutrition and physical activity effort would certainly improve health and bring down substantial spending on obesity and obesity-related diseases. And yes, the success of the National Physical Activity Plan will be observed if it is operated by a diverse partnership of government, schools K-12 and higher, community organizations, churches, non-profits, health, nutrition and physical activity professionals, etc. collaborating and working together. Engaging everyone in the “village” on this important plan is a successful start.

What will success of the NPAP look like to you in 3 years, 5 years? 10 years?
In 3 years, recruitment of all the partners is completed/continued; assessment of existing national and international plans for lessons learned for practical and applicable community intervention plans continue; active promotion and advertising of forthcoming plan. National/state/local politicians and Plan leaders are empowered, supportive, and taking the lead in physical activity in their respective communities. In 5 years, 80-100% have at least heard about NPAP and 50% actually doing some physical activity daily. In 10 years, 100% know what NPAP is and 80-100% are physically active at least 3-5 times a week, spurts of 10min physical activity routines non-stop, 30-45mins physical activity regimen non-stop.

 

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