News and information from the National Physical Activity Plan 04/2012

NPAP at Weight of the Nation

The National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) will be well-represented at this year’s Weight of the Nation Conference, hosted by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. The NPAP will help kick-off the conference with a forum from 8:45am-10am the morning of Monday May 7th, where key members of the NPAP’s Coordinating Committee will be part of a forum, offering a brief history of the NPAP as well as an update on the NPAP’s progress.

Part of that progress is the impact the NPAP is having at the state level, including the recent launch of the West Virginia State Physical Activity Plan. In addition to NPAP representatives, Dr. Eloise Elliot, who led the effort develop the West Virginia State Physical Activity Plan, and West Virginia State Senator Ron Stollings will offer insight into how the NPAP can serve as a model for development of a state plan, and will present evidence of the impact the W.V. state plan has had in the few short months since its launch. In addition to the forum, the NPAP will have a booth in the exhibit hall where conference attendees can learn more about the NPAP and how to become involved at the national, state, or local level.

The conference will take place in Washington, D.C.’s Omni Shoreham Hotel from May 7-9. Registration for the conference is currently open.

 Massachusetts coalition seeks to policy change to increase PA

Increasing physical activity in all segments of the U.S. population will come, in large part, as the result of action at state and local levels to develop and advance physical activity policy. The Healthy People/Healthy Economy Coalition is a Massachusetts-based organization “targeted at stemming the rising tide of preventable chronic illness and the threat it poses to the Commonwealth’s health, fiscal stability and economic competitiveness,” identifying expanded physical activity as a primary goal.

Consistent with the National Physical Activity Plan’s emphasis on establishing multi-sector partnerships, the Healthy People/Healthy Economy coalition is comprised of businesses, health care providers, public health advocates, and political and civic leaders working with state officials to develop a broad set of policy initiatives including mandating physical activity in schools and in the workplace.

University of Arizona curriculum includes NPAP concepts

As described in the Education Sector of the National Physical Activity Plan, post-secondary institutions should be encouraged to incorporate population-focused physical activity promotion training in a range of disciplinary degree and certificate programs.

Dr. Lydia Bell of the University of Arizona’s College of Education has taken the NPAP to heart, offering undergraduate students a course called Youth Physical Activity and Community Sport, designed to “inform students about the important historical, social, economic, environmental, and media based influences shaping physical activity of adolescents and teens.”

Part of the course requires students to analyze the demographics and environmental facets of local neighborhoods to better understand the relationship between the environmental access to physical activity, and health behavior and health outcomes. Students also learn about the manner in which organized youth sports can be a galvanizing force for bringing community together to support physical activity in youth, while also learning how organized sports can also be exclusive, leaving many kids on the sidelines.   Bell asks her students to think about why and when kids are left out and the impact that may have on life-long physical activity habits.

Bridging the Gap releases research briefs on PA policy

Three new policy briefs from Bridging the Gap summarize findings from the first year of the Community Obesity Measures Project, which works to identify local policy and environmental factors that are likely to be important determinants of physical activity, healthy eating and obesity among children and adolescents.

The first brief, Income Disparities in Street Features that Encourage Walking, examines the prevalence of pedestrian-friendly features and amenities on neighborhood streets, including sidewalks, street lighting, traffic calming devices, and marked crosswalks, in communities throughout the U.S. The brief also summarizes differences in the prevalence of these features by community income.

The second brief, Using Local Land Use Laws to Facilitate Physical Activity, examines the extent to which local land use laws in communities throughout the U.S. require structural improvements that facilitate physical activity, such as requirements for pedestrian-oriented provisions, open space, playgrounds, sports fields, trails, and bike lanes. It also shows how requirements vary based on community income.

The third brief, Joint Use Agreements: Creating Opportunities for Physical Activity, examines the characteristics of joint use agreements that were in effect during the 2009-10 school year among a national sample of 157 public school districts. Specifically, the brief analyzes who or what parties are addressed, what facilities they are allowed to use, and when they are allowed to use them.

Bridging the Gap is a nationally recognized research program dedicated to improving the understanding of how policies and environmental factors influence physical activity, diet, and obesity among youth. Specific questions can be addressed to [email protected].

NPAP renews focus on national-level PA issues

The NPAP Coordinating Committee is very pleased to report that it has entered into a new Memorandum of Understanding with the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA), recommitting the organizations to work together to further federal support for physical activity initiatives. Under the new Memorandum of Understanding, NCPPA will provide leadership in public policy advocacy at the national/federal level.

Update on NCPPA national-level implementation of the NPAP 

The National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity is working to capitalize on every opportunity to insert physical activity in to the federal legislative and regulatory landscape. In addition to encouraging the Administration to update the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines, we have been working recently on the following activities on behalf of our relationship with the NPAP:

PEP Grant Funding – NCPPA recently participated in the National Health Through Fitness lobby day on Capitol Hill where we helped educate congressional staff on the need to retain dedicated funding for physical education programs under the Carol M. White Physical Education Program, which provides for competitive grants for physical education under the Department of Education. The Administration is proposing to consolidate Carol White PEP grants into a block grant program where physical education programs would have to compete also with mental health and related services.

Transportation Reauthorization – NCPPA is working to retain federal funding for bike and pedestrian friendly programs under the nation’s comprehensive federal surface transportation laws. Congress faced a March 31 deadline for action or else the federal government could not have continued to collect the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax that feeds the Highway Trust Funds and payments to states would’ve been stopped, forcing states to lay off thousands of workers and halting billions in infrastructure projects. House committees approved a version of the reauthorization legislation that would have deleted funding for Safe Routes to School and other transportation enhancements that support bicycling and pedestrians, but that measure ran into trouble when House GOP leaders were unable to collect enough votes for it to pass the House. A more physical-activity friendly bill advanced in the Senate but time ran out at the end of March without a final compromise ready for the president to sign. Congress passed a 90-day stop-gap measure before heading home for Easter break to keep funds flowing to the states pending action on a longer-term compromise. The current law remains in effect until June 31, along with its Safe Routes to School and transportation enhancements.

Electronic Health Records – NCPPA also is working to develop a key issues document to assist coalition members and other interested groups who want to develop comments to submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as part of the regulatory rulemaking procedure to be sure physical activity is included in the financial incentives program for meaningful use of electronic health records. Contact us directly for more information on this effort:


NCPPA Sector Teams – Under the new MOU between NCPPA and NPAP, the Industry Sector Teams working on the National Physical Activity Plan will be re-tooled to assist NCPPA with its responsibilities for pubic policy advocacy and communications under the Plan. More on this effort in the next issue!

Physical Activity – Time to Act:

A message from Harold (Bill) Kohl,  President of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH)

After much fanfare in September 2011, the United Nations High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) adopted the World Health Organization (WHO) Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of NCDs.  This attention, to the reasons for more than 63% of global deaths in 2008 represents a tremendous step forward to improve the health of humankind.

Lack of physical activity is a key cause of several of the leading NCD causes of death such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.  Thus it logically follows that physical inactivity, along with tobacco control, and diet and alcohol, would be prominent targets for actions in this new global fight on NCDs.

Unfortunately, only three of these four key risk factors is assured the importance of being an overt target for change in this process.  Physical inactivity is at risk of being pushed to the side in the global fight on NCDs.  Given the enormous scientific and practice advances we have made in physical activity over the years, this situation is unacceptable.  The global battle against NCDs will be ineffective if physical inactivity is not at the center of this effort.  All of us who are in the physical activity field must now become activists.  The time to act is now.

What is needed?  The WHO serves UN Member States and input from Member States is extremely and urgently important.  Physical inactivity must be endorsed for inclusion as a global target in the WHO Consultation on the Global Monitoring Framework for NCD Precention.  Please contact the Ministries of Health in countries in Central and South America, Western Pacific, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean.  Please forward this message widely to spread the word.

GAPA – the Advocacy Council of ISPAH has been at the forefront of this effort in the past few weeks and their leadership is to be commended.  Background briefing materials and templates for communiques can be found on the ISPAH website.  Act now.  Submissions close on April 19, 2012.  The world’s health depends on your action.

Oliver Bartzsch is an experienced medical professional with over 15 years of professional experience. With a passion for medicine, fitness, and personal growth, he is always willing to challenge himself to accomplish tasks and especially to provide accurate medical information to people. Oliver is a long-time medical editor for multiple sites. With more than 10 years of medical writing experience, he has completed over 350 projects with both individual and corporate clients.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here