News and information from the National Physical Activity Plan 03/2015

Recap: 2015 National Physical Activity Plan Congress 

On February 23-24, 2015, over 250 professionals in public health, education, government, and media attended the 2015 National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) Congress in Washington, D.C. The Congress opened with a keynote lecture by Dr. Wanda Jones, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in which she emphasized the importance of partnerships in promoting physical activity. A second keynote, delivered by Mark Fenton, focused on environment and policy changes that support physical activity as part of daily life.

One major goal of the Congress was to highlight important developments and opportunities in physical activity and public health. Ten thematic panel sessions focused on promoting physical activity through a variety of mechanisms including federal initiatives, public-private partnerships, healthcare innovations, and state and local strategies. Other sessions stressed the importance of reducing disparities in promoting physical activity and the causes of energy imbalance and its effect on public health.

A second major goal of the Congress was to engage participants in reviewing and proposing revisions to the National Physical Activity Plan. This was achieved through two open mike Town Hall sessions in which chairs of eight sector expert panels presented suggested updates to his or her respective sector that reflected the most current state of science, policy, and practice. Following the chairs’ presentations, Congress participants were invited to provide comments and feedback. Participants were then offered the opportunity to attend a sector breakout session for a more in-depth discussion.

A high point of the NPAP Congress was the awards ceremony, emceed by Dr. Pamela Peeke. The awards ceremony acknowledged NPAP Champions, individuals and organizations that have made a significant commitment to adopting NPAP strategies and have shown progress toward improving physical activity in their target audiences. Three organizations were named as the first NPAP Champions – Space to Grow, Chicago, IL; Get Fit Kauai, Kauai County, HI; and Seguin ISD Student Health Advisory Council, Seguin, TX.

The National Physical Activity Alliance also recognized Dr. Kenneth E. Powell, a pioneer in the field of physical activity and public health, with its first-ever Honor Award for lifetime achievement. The awards ceremony concluded with Dr. Steven Blair being presented with the President’s Council Lifetime Achievement Award.

Following the Congress, sector panels will continue to work on refining the NPAP with input received at the Congress. A near-final draft will be circulated for public comment in mid-2015, with a release of the updated NPAP anticipated in late 2015. The National Physical Activity Alliance thanks its Organizational Partners, Congress participants, speakers, and sponsors for their contributions which led to the great success of the Congress.

Champions of the NPAP:

What successful implementation of the NPAP looks like?

During the 2015 NPAP Congress, we were delighted to recognize three outstanding organizations for their successful efforts in implementing the strategies and tactics outlined in the NPAP. Below we have showcased their efforts to increase physical activity in their communities. Ultimately, we hope sharing their success stories will serve as a guide to increase physical activity for communities across the country.

Sequin ISD Student Health Advisory Council

Recognized as having the best Student Health Advisory Committee Advisory (SHAC) in Texas (2013) at the annual It’s Time Texas Summit Meeting, the Sequin Independent School District (SISD) SHAC was initially designed after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coordinated School Health model with a primary emphasis on promoting physical activity (PA) to students, faculty/staff, and the community.

Numerous strategies and tactics from the education sector of the NPAP have been used successfully to develop a culture of increased PA within the SISD and community. The SISD impacts 7,500 total students and the total population of Seguin is 25,000 – 66.13% of students are considered economically disadvantaged (or low social economic status, SES), 65.9% are classified as Hispanic, 26.7% White, and 5.7% African-American. The SISD SHAC has utilized a variety of partners successfully to achieve numerous measurable outcomes and several individuals have been recognized as well for their contributions.

Get Fit Kaui

Get Fit Kauai is the Nutrition and Physical Activity Coalition of Kauai County, a rural county in Hawaii. Since establishing its Built Environment and Safe Routes to School Task Forces in 2009, Get Fit Kauai has made tremendous strides in promoting physical activity through policy change, programs, and projects. The coalition has led successful advocacy efforts for three major policy changes, including a county Complete Streets resolution (2010), a statewide Safe Routes to School Bill that allocates funding from speeding traffic violations to counties for Safe Routes to School efforts (2012), and a county ordinance change to the subdivision code that requires sidewalks and shorter block lengths (2013).

 The coalition has also partnered with the County Public Works Department to develop infrastructure improvement plans for participating schools, and several changes to improve the safety of crosswalks have been implemented. Other notable accomplishments of Get Fit Kauai are: organizing a worksite wellness challenge that encourages 25 businesses to create policy and environmental changes to support physical activity and better nutrition. The efforts of Get Fit Kauai align with several of the strategies and tactics in the Transportation, Land Use, and Community Design sector of the NPAP.

Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands

Space to Grow was formed by a unique group of partners to transform Chicago’s underused and outdated schoolyards into vibrant outdoor spaces that benefit students, communities and the environment. Two Chicago-based nonprofit organizations – Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands – serve as managing partners, while public agency partners (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, City of Chicago Department of Water Management and Chicago Public Schools) provide capital funding for schoolyard improvements.

Space to Grow engages the entire school community – students, parents, school staff, and neighborhood residents at every stage from concept to design, to planting and mulching. In addition to serving the school populations, these new schoolyards are open to the entire community. The schoolyards are designed with all ages and community members in mind, ensuring access to recreation opportunities. These schoolyards are contributing to improving environmental and health issues and creating safe spaces for communities to come together.

The efforts of the Space to Grow project align well with several strategies and tactics outlined in the Park, Recreation, Fitness, and Sports sector as well as the Education.

Celebrate World Day for Physical Activity

Agita Mundo invites all to celebrate the World Day for Physical Activity on April 6th! The central theme for this year’s event is “Sedentary is Disease; Physical Activity is Health”.  We encourage you to take part in this global celebration of physical activity! To learn more about this international celebration for physical activity, click here to visit the Agita Mundo website.

Participants are encouraged to register for the event here.

 America Walks: 
Inspiring Stories of Walkable Communities
 Catch the last of three webinars from the America Walks webinar series:

“Inspiring Stories.”


Join celebrated speaker and walkability expert Mark Fenton for a rapid-fire review of best practices for those beginning to build more walkable communities. Many communities are overwhelmed by the apparent technical challenges and cost of making themselves more walkable. But there are compelling, cost efficient, often simple approaches that are ideal first steps. Based on a series of interviews with some of the most experienced and successful walkable community advocates and implementers in the United States, this Webinar reveals starter-strategies that have been shown to work, and why!

For more details or to register, visit the America Walks website.

New Infographic for Healthy Heart Month: 

 The Road to Heart Disease Prevention Begins at Birth

A new infographic from The ASPC Manual of Preventive  Cardiology highlights the importance of starting prevention efforts in childhood to address heart disease.

‘The road to heart disease starts in childhood. To prevent it, we need to do the same.’

In this excerpt from the ASPC Manual of Preventive Cardiology, authors Benjamin Oldfield, MD, Satish Misra, MD, and Peter Kwiterovich, MD offer their diet and exercise recommendation for children of all ages, adapted from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)’s guidelines.’


Report: The Best Complete Street Policies of 2014
In February, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition released a report summarizing the adoption of Complete Street policies in 2014. Notably, 74 communities adopted Complete Streets policies in 2014. Of those, The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014 report highlights 11 communities that led the nation in creating comprehensive Complete Streets policies last year.

We congratulate each of these communities for their exceptional policy work! Further, in conjunction with the strategies and tactics outlined in the Transportation, Land Use, and Community Design sector of the NPAP, we invite you to use their efforts as a guide to implement similar policies in your community.

What are Complete Street policies?

Complete street policies are laws, resolutions, and planning and design documents that encourage and provide for the safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel.

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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