Voices of the NPAP
What are your roles with the NPAP?
As a practicing pediatrician for over twenty-five years and as a founding member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Obesity, I serve on the NPAP to help connect pediatric medical providers to the Plan and to bring back the hard work of the plan to my colleagues. While pediatric and adult medical providers will need to be involved in direct promotion of physical activity in their offices and on personal levels with their patients, I often see medical providers who are passionate about physical activity and health promotion miss opportunities to leverage their voice as community leaders. Parents, patients, schools, elected officials and businesses depend on medical providers to give currency and a human face to the rationale for policies that promote physical activity. My goal as a physician advocate is to help my patients directly but also to empower my fellow medical providers to promote good policy that increases physical activity in communities, schools, counties, townships, states and the nation.
What's most exciting to you about the U.S. having a National Physical Activity Plan?
The most exciting part of the Plan is that it offers the chance to bring a comprehensive solution to many of our biggest health crises to fruition. Physical activity is critical to physical and mental well-being and has a crucial role in preventing cardiac, endocrine, oprthopedic and many other categories of disease. I am tremendously excited to be able to bring this powerful public health treatment to many people through the joint efforts of leaders in multiple sectors. None of work, live or play in a vacuum. The Plan brings those of us from many different areas of society together for the chance to really make a difference for our nation and its citizens.
What will success of the NPAP look like to you in 3 years, 5 years? 10 years?
I look for the day when physical activity is the easy choice for our citizens. Regular, ongoing quality physical education in every school, routine screening and promotion about physical activity in every medical check-up and the proliferation of alternative transportation within three years; a comprehensive strategy around livable, walk-able and physically active communities in five years and a society where physical activity is the norm in ten years are my dreams for the National Physical Activity Plan.