News and information from the National Physical Activity Plan 05/2014

JPAH Series Featuring the 

National Physical Activity Plan 

Earlier this month the Journal of Physical Activity and Health released a special series highlighting the development and successes of the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP). The Physical Activity Plans for the Nation series includes four articles as well as a commentary from Dr. Russell Pate, President of the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA). In his commentary, Dr. Pate provides an inside view of the U.S. NPAP and reflects on its development and successes as well as several remaining challenges faced by the Plan.  For a detailed summary of the development of the NPAP as well as examples of successful implementation, check out the series articles:

  • Development of a National Physical Activity Plan for the United States
  • Local Adaptation of the National Physical Activity Plan: Creation of the Active Living Plan for a Healthier San Antonio
  • ActiveWV: A Systematic Approach to Developing a Physical Activity Plan for West Virginia
  • Utilizing the National Physical Activity Plan to Create a Disease-Specific Approach: Environmental and Policy Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Adults with Arthritis

Report Card Released: U.S. Kids are Failing to Meet Physical Activity Recommendations 

Last week, the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA) proudly released the 2014 U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.  In collaboration with its organizational partner, the American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM), the NPAPA unveiled the Report Card grades during a briefing held in collaboration with the Congressional Fitness Caucus in Washington, D.C on April 29, 2014.

A summary of the Report Card grades appears on the right. The results – no surprise – U.S. kids are not getting enough physical activity. In fact, 58% of 6-11 year olds and 92% of 12-15 year olds are failing to meet the current physical activity recommendations calling for 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on at least 5 days per week. American youth earned a D- on ‘overall physical activity’.

“We hope the Report Card will galvanize researchers, health professionals, community members, and policy makers across the U.S. to improve our children’s physical activity opportunities, which will improve health, prevent disease and disability, and enhance quality of life,” said Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk, Associate Executive Director for Population and Public Health Sciences at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University.

To review the grades and summaries in more detail, download the full report.

CDC Vital Sign – Adults with Disabilities

Physical Activity is for everyone!

In this month’s Vital Signs Program, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a call-to-action focusing on the role of physical activity in preventing or postponing chronic disease in people with disabilities. According to the CDC, more than 21 million US adults 18-64 years of age have a disability. Further, most adults with disabilities are able to participate in physical activity, yet nearly half of them get no aerobic physical activity.

Some facts:

  • Adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities.
  • Nearly half of all adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity.
  • Adults with disabilities are 82% more likely to be physically active if their doctor recommended it.

More information can be found at

Increasing Parent Physical Activity 

in Parks & Playgrounds

A new research study suggests that one way to increase adult physical activity in playgrounds is to remove the opportunity to sit. A small study published in Preventive Medicine observed the effects of removing the benches in close proximity to children’s playground equipment on parent activity levels. The results were promising with adults being 23 times more likely to engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

“For such an easy and inexpensive change, we were able to shift many adults from sitting to standing and that alone promotes health,” said lead author James Roemmich, a supervisory research physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

When the benches were removed, parent’s physical activity and socializing behaviors increased. Specifically, parents were more likely to engage in activity with their child, walk around the playground, and socialize with other parents. Ultimately, this simple ‘micro-environmental’ change could be easily replicated in parks and playground across the nation to increase parental activity. The Parks, Recreation, Fitness, and Sports sector of the NPAP identifies additional environmental and policy changes supportive of physical activity in these settings.

Can School Sport Policies 

Influence Sport Participation?

Participation in extracurricular sports is well-documented to promote activity among youth. Within the school setting, current sport models favor exclusive interscholastic sport programs which are competitive in nature and typically limit participation to higher skilled students.  However, recent evidence suggest the type of sport programs (interscholastic vs. intramural) available to youth may influence participation rates. Specifically, more inclusive sport programs may promote higher participation rates among less skilled and economically disadvantaged youth.

A recent study simulated the potential effect of implementing more inclusive sport programs in middle schools on the rate of sport participation. The simulation suggested that policy changes supporting the implementation of intramural sports in addition to existing interscholastic sport programs could result in an addition 43,000 sport participants in the state of North Carolina alone. Of these students, 64.5% were predicted to be economically disadvantaged students.

Hence, policies supporting inclusive school sport opportunities show promise as an effective strategy to increasing access to sports among all students, especially disadvantages students. Ultimately, increased implementation of such policies could reduce disparities in access to school sports and increase activity levels among all students.


National Bike to School Day – May 7

May is officially Bike Month and includes the official date for National Bike to School Day – May 7, 2014.

Bike to School Day is an annual national event hosted by the National Center for Safe Route to School. The overall goal of the event is to promote physical activity among school children as well as teach safe bicycling and pedestrian skills to children.

The first National Bike to School Day was celebrated across the U.S. in 2012. The event has continued to grow since its inaugural year and hopes to be a driving force for change in communities! To see details and pictures from the event visit the Walk Bike to School website.

New Resource: Measuring Sprawl 2014

Previous research has linked sprawl to several undesirable outcomes including physical inactivity, obesity, poor air quality, lack of social capital, etc. With these relationships in mind, Smart Growth America has examined the cost and benefits of sprawling developments since 2002.

As part of their continued efforts, Smart Growth America has released Measuring Sprawl 2014, a new report which updates existing research and analyzes the development patterns in over 200 metropolitan areas and 900 counties in the United States.

The report examines how a community’s design and density influences the lives of its residences. Aligning with the strategies and tactics outlined in the NPAP Transportation, Land Use, and Community Design sector, the report also includes a number of strategies communities can use to increase walkability and connectedness and how policies makers can support these efforts.

  National Physical Activity Plan Congress

February 23-24, 2015

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center,

1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

Upcoming Events & Conferences:  


May 14-16, 2014 

Sacramento, CA  

2014 Global Summit on the 

Physical Activity of Children

May 21-24, 2014

Toronto, Canada

International Society of Behavioral
Nutrition and Physical Activity

May 21-24, 2014 

San Diego, CA

American College of Sports Medicine 

May 28-31, 2014

Orlando, FL

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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