News and information from the National Physical Activity Plan 03/2014

NPAP Book Released: 
Implementing Physical Activity Strategies

The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance and the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity are proud to announce the release of Implementing Physical Activity Strategies. The book is comprised of 42 physical activity programs that are designed to help people adopt more active and healthy lifestyles based on the NPAP.  This new resource highlights innovative and proven physical activity programs representing the eight sectors of the plan.

For each sector, the book provides a detailed explanation of effective physical activity programs that align with the NPAP. In addition, an in depth description of how each program was executed, the target population of the program, and an assessments of the program’s effectiveness are provided for each example.

The book is an excellent resource that provides readers with specific information and tools that will help to ensure the success of their own initiatives. Many of the profiles include sample press releases, ads, screen shots, photos, surveys, follow-up forms, and other hands-on materials that have the potential to help readers translate these ideas to new physical activity initiatives.

Implementing Physical Activity Strategies offers a detailed look into exemplary programs that have brought about an increase in regular physical activity for individuals where they live, work, and play. Stimulate new ideas, inspire creativity and innovation, and set in motion new results-oriented physical activity initiatives with Implementing Physical Activity Strategies.  Click here for more information about this great new resource.

Active Living Research Infographic: Changing Communities Gets People Moving

Last month, Active Living Research released a new infographic that profiles changes at the community level that can encourage residents to engage in more physical activity. Today, more communities across the United States are taking steps to ensure that streets, sidewalks, schools, and parks are more supportive of physical activities such as walking, biking, and playing.
The infographic highlights several studies which evaluated changes in physical activity levels after significant improvements to the built environment and/or programmatic modifications. Some facts highlighted in the infographic include:

    • children are more likely to walk or bike to school when there are quality streets and crosswalks, and programs that promote safety;
    • existence of bike lanes is related to higher rates of cycling; and
    • the presence of recreational facilities close to home encourages more physical activity.

The NAPA outlines several strategies and tactics that communities can implement in order to promote physical activity among its residents. To take action and make your community more supportive of physical activity review the NPAP.

Physical Inactivity and Unhealthy Eating Among Youth Identified As A Top Health Concern
In California, youth eating and physical activity behaviors have become an increasing concern among voters. In a recent poll, nearly 60% of those surveyed identified unhealthy eating and lack of physical activity among youth as a top health concern.
The poll surveyed approximately 1,000 registered voters in the state of California in late 2013. Each poll participant was asked to select their top two health risk among children. The top health concerns among youth identified by voters included:

            • Unhealthy eating and physical inactivity (59%)
            • Illegal drug use (43%)
            • Violence (31%)
            • Alcohol use (16%)
            • Smoking (11%)
            • Unsafe sex (10%)

Interestingly, the rise in concern with children’s healthy eating and physical activity coincides with the declining obesity rates among Californian youth. Overall, poll respondents exhibited high support for policy changes that would make physical activity programs more affordable. Based on these results, public health professionals are calling for elected officials to take action.

With over 240 strategies and tactics, the NPAP can play a vital role in developing effective policies and initiatives aimed to increase physical activity among America’s youth. The results from this poll highlight the successful efforts of recent public health campaigns. While much work is still needed, growing support and awareness of children’s health behaviors shows promise for the years to come.

Move to Improve Act Making Progress

Bills requiring more physical education in school are gaining more acceptance among the general public. Last month in West Virginia, the Move to Improve Act, which supports more physical activity opportunities in schools, was passed by a 37-2 vote in the Senate.

The bill, which was proposed by Senator John Miller, originally called for schools to provide a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity daily. However, a compromise was reached reducing the requirement to 20 minutes of physical activity per day for elementary school children. For students in grades six through twelve, the bill would require physical activity opportunities be available for an average of 150 minutes per week. Policies promoting physical activity opportunities in the school setting align well with the strategies and tactics outlined in the Education sector of the NPAP.

The bill will take effect in the 2016-17 school year. Prior to its implementation, several barriers will need to be addressed. One anticipated challenge of the bill is the increased financial cost of hiring additional staff to meet the new mandate. However, several effective solutions to these challenges can be found in resources such as the new Implementing Physical Activity Strategies book.

‘Safe Route to Everywhere’ 
Report Presented to Congress
omprised of several public health advocates including the American Public Health Association, the Partnership for Active Transportation has called for Congress to place a greater focus on active transportation, including investments in walking and biking infrastructure. The report, which was entitled ‘Safe Routes to Everywhere’, was delivered to Congress in mid-February and outlines policy interventions to promote safe and accessible active transportation options for all.  The four major policy interventions discussed in the report include:

    • building a structured active transportation system through increased federal investments that will help to create and maintain trails, biking and walking networks;
    • creation of an innovative loan program to encourage investment in small active transport projects;
    • implementing a pilot health impact assessment program to capture transportation data for policy makers; and
    • development of goals and metrics to measure the impact of transportation projects.

As highlighted in the NPAP, advocacy at any level has the potential to bring about changes in population physical activity levels. For strategies and tactics designed to promote active transportation, visit the Transportation, Land Use, and Community Design sector of the NPAP.

Get 60 Minutes – 
New IOM Infographic Promoting Physical Activity!

In 2013, the IOM released the Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School report. Based on the recommendations outlined in this report, the IOM has created a new interactive infographic summarizing how students can accumulate 60 minutes of physical activity during the school day.

Specifically, the infographic highlights several physically active opportunities for students to engage in including:

  • active transportation to and from school
  • classroom activity time
  • recess
  • physical education classes
  • after-school programs
  • intra- and extramural sports

The report’s conclusions call for the strengthening and improvement of school programs and policies regarding physical activity and physical education. These recommendations align with a number of strategies and tactics discussed in the Education sector of the NPAP.

Farm Bill Incorporates Physical Activity Education

Passage of the Farm Bill and President Obama’s signing of the legislation last month were important moments for initiatives promoting healthy eating and physical activity across the nation.

Of the many changes to the SNAP program, the NPAPA is excited to see physical activity education and promotion incorporated into the new legislation. Funding for the SNAP Education program was sustained which will help many Americans enrolled in the program to make better food choices. In addition to the existing nutrition education and obesity prevention activities, the education programs provided by SNAP agencies now receives funding for the promotion of physical activity. Overall, the promotion of both healthy eating and physical activity will play an important role in helping Americans stay healthy.

Charting the Course: The Office of Disease Prevention Releases New Strategic Plan

The NIH Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) recently released a new Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-2018. The plan charts the new directions of the Office for the coming five years and reflects the reorganization of the ODP as well as the increased public attention to prevention research.

The Strategic Plan was developed as a collaborative effort with input from a variety of stakeholders. It includes activities aimed at strengthening existing programs and developing new initiatives to advance the prevention research agenda and improve the public’s health.Download and read the full strategic plan from their website here.

2014 World Day for Physical Activity

The Agita Mundo Network has announced the 2014 World Day for Physical Activity to be held on 6 April 2014. In honor of the football world cup to be held in Brazil this upcoming summer, the theme is ‘Physical Activity: A Golden Goal for Health.’ Celebrations in honor of the event will take place between April 1 and May 31 and will include walking parades, seminars, media conferences, and sports nights.

The event originated in São Paulo in 1997 when the Agita São Paulo Program was adopted as a national strategy for promoting health through regular physical activity. In 2002, the government instituted the ‘Day of Physical Activity’ to be celebrated annually on April 6. Due to its success and impact, the event has become an international celebration of physical activity promotion.

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.


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