Comments and Suggestions

The following comments and suggestions were collected from attendees at the NationalPhysical Activity Plan Conference.

  • “A lot of discussion was about public health taking action but state and public health agencies function under the established policies by personnel offices.  You must have an influence on personnel hiring, recruitment and retention otherwise hiring managers are stuck hiring non-public health folks in the workforce.  Involve leaders/association for state personnel offices.”
  • “Encourage all senators to include a wellness link on their website.  See Sen. Ensign’s website as an example.”
  • “Look to schools that have won governor’s awards for physical activity as examples of successful programs.”
  • “Every elementary school should have a walking track.  Urban areas need at least safe sidewalks around the block/streets of the school.”
  • “Where will the “fit/connection” to the whole Healthy Communities initiative be?”
  • “Regarding mass media and social marketing and the notion of a social movement, I am a little concerned about comments that have been made regarding mass media not working and/or being hard to sustain i.e. “VERB.”  It is important to note that mass media alone may not work.  However, community-wide approaches do work…and social marketing, including mass media is a vitally important element of a comprehensive, community-wide agenda.  Let’s not throw out media in favor (only) of environments and in so doing ignore the principle of comprehensiveness and indeed resign the environment initiatives to be les effective and lack context.  If you treat mass media in isolation it is vulnerable, but mass media as part of a community-wide approach is vital.” – Trevor Shilton.
  • “Increase the length of the school day to provide enough time for PA and PE instructional time.”
  • “Regarding Parks/Recreation/Fitness & Sports.  This group is limiting itself by thinking too much like academic and community types (which is fine to a point).  However, they are missing the opportunity to promote a focus on bringing the health message of physical activity to the public by directly trying to better connect the health/medical network to the fitness/sport industry to help them both increase participation and profit.  For example, truly connecting Exercise is Medicine to the medical community and sport governing bodies and related existing programs.  Take advantage of the marketing power and impact of the fitness/sport industries rather than relying on primarily policy, education and increasing access to infrastructure through federal funding.  That is, help make physical activity fun and profitable to those who are stakeholders.  That will reinforce sustainability.”   – Mike Bergeron, Sanford Health.
  • It is important to have the American Hospital Association involved.  There are many hospitals nationwide that have fitness centers or a fitness center agreement.  “Additionally, fitness center directors should be present.  Their facilities specialize in programming for special populations.” – Tara Green, Medical Fitness Association.
  • “The biggest challenge we will face is accountability.  Who will be responsible for seeing that the plan gets implemented and evaluated, and that on-going reporting of process gets reported regularly to all stakeholders? We have faced this challenge with state plans – how to have all stakeholders on board as partners – but then ensuring that ONE organization coordinates/leads and reports out all while making sure that partners continue to feel a part.  The lead agency has to be adequately staffed and funded.” –  Sheree Vodicka, N.C. Division of Public Health
  • “Social marketing campaign ideas:  Need a tagline.  Product sponsorship with partial $$ going to fund for physical activity.”
  • “A number of people highlighted how the smoking issue was attacked successfully via government funding and policy and thus this should be effective in promoting physical activity.  However, look at how the tobacco industry was successful – cigarettes were made available, inexpensive, addicting and marketed well.  Thus smoking became profitable to the tobacco industry.  We need to make exercise and other physical activities more profitable to the healthcare and sports/fitness industries and let those industries keep the physical activity initiative sustainable.  Let’s focus on the business model vs. the government regulation model.  NOTE:  The Swiss example shoes how the Tourism Industry has made a difference because they found a way to make hiking profitable to the Tourism industry.”   – Mike Bergeron, Sanford Health
  • “Find champions in government i.e. governors and state health officials who can move policy forward.  Make sure there is integration & collaboration across agencies (e.g. health department, environmental health, choric disease, etc…)” – Beth Topf, The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
  • “Those who would benefit most from physical activity are the least able to afford it.  Millions in this country are uninsured.  Millions in this country live in poverty.  We need to critically consider the impact of any physical activity plans/policies on the poor to make sure we don’t unintentionally widen the gap for the disadvantaged…taxes, gentrification of neighborhoods, incentivising activity in healthcare while not addressing the uninsured all have consequences for the poor.”
  • “Prepare manuals of ‘Best Practices’ (BP) in the major areas of the plan.
  • “1 day training on these manuals.” – David Berringan, NCI
  • “A collaboration between ACSM, state and private universities/colleges and Boards of Education to create a new workforce of “Exercise/Physical Activity Specialists.”  Undergraduate programs of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Public Health would provide infrastructure for training undergraduates with a specific expertise in communication with physicians that are prescribing exercise.  Exercise specialists would be responsible for “filling” the prescription and could be employed at hospitals, fitness facilities, etc. Could make/support laws requiring fitness facilities to employ at least 1 Exercise Specialist.  Great meeting!  Thank you!” – Lucas Carr, Brown University
  • “Brand 30 minutes for Life – make your patriotic duty to walk or do any PA for 30 minutes for life.”
  • “I would be interested in seeing early childhood/childcare/preschool represented as a specific sector.  I’m willing to help with this effort however needed.” – Jill Pfankuch
  • “Public Health workers, each accourding to his ability & resources, should model a healthy lifestyle, by being physically active as guided by the PA guidelines.”
  • “Ask President Obama to establish a “National Day Off” for a “National Physical Activity Day” to encourage physical activity everywhere by everybody, energize w/county/city/town activities locally”. – Holly McPeak
  • “Please consider whether there is a need to define the types of parks and recreation areas/lands (federal lands/waters vs. urban/local parks) to which this plan refers.  At the same time, please do not lose sight of the value of federal lands/waters and the importance of promoting active use of these spaces and the conservation message at the same time. Thank you!” – Jane Wargo, President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
  • “Largest group of uninsured are 18-lates 20’s . We need to develop lifestyle management modules for graduation of high school/college.
  • “For the Mass Media piece – suggest perhaps tying in with America on the Move.  AOTM already has a web-based intervention that has national presence…they could perhaps be the conduit for at least that segment of the mass media campaign.  Because they are a non-profit, they may have the flexibility to be a conduit for other pieces of the campaign & plan implementation as well.” – Sheree Vodicka, NC Division of Public Health
  • “For the school/education sector, consider including students & youth as part of the workgroup.”
  • “For the healthcare sector, consider including reimbursement for PA counseling as one of the “fundamental changes to the US healthcare & health systems.”
  • “There should be some discussion about how the National PA Plan & State plans are going to work together & be implemented simultaneously.  Will the National Plan trump the state plane?  We need to develop some plans & education around this issue.”
  • “To convince people on the importance of physical activity several things are needed:  Evidence base’ Great examples of how others are handling the issues like us, Personal stories like David Satcher’s about his own love of jogging & rowing. People remember stories and are moved by them.” – Joan Alman
  • “Concern for personal safety ie. fear of crime (both real & perceived) is a major deterrent to physical activity, particularly in urban communities.  The P.A. Plan should ultimately have strategies to deal with this issue and involve the appropriate partners, e.g. Law enforcement and community development, non-profits.” – Phil Bors
  • “One of the recommendations suggested in the education white paper did not make it into the general “School PA Program” recommendation. (I raised it in the group, but it got lost)  The idea of having state require time for daily recess in elementary schools is critical.  It is specific and actionable, it’s based on good research, and it’s extremely popular with a public concerned with children having adequate time to play & impact on classroom behavior.  Thanks for considering adding this back in to the education goals (or as a piece of the school-wide PA program rec).  On a related note, the education piece will stall without the involvement of school principals/administrators, school superintendents, and national/state PTA’s.  It can’t just come for PE/PA advocates.  Thank you.” – Catherine Teare
  • “As a local level worker, an Adapted Physical Education Teacher from Arizona, I am excited to be a part of the National Physical Activity Plan!  I would like to see this plan assist us in physical education so we can play an integral part in the implementation at the school level.  The issues we are facing are cuts to our programs – we have districts that have totally lost physical education programs or have very little service time, and lack of certification (proper certification) for PE/APE (adapted PE) teachers.  We really need legislation to support physical education, with PC being nationally mandated, along with “highly qualified physical education teachers” being included in the law.  Under IDEA we have PE defined and “required” for students with special needs, but there is no requirement for a “highly qualified adapted PE teacher” and no criteria for what a “highly qualified” PE or APE teacher would entail.  We need support at this level to be able to provide quality physical education & contribute successfully to the plan!” – Pam Long, CAPE Adapted Physical Ed.
  • “American College Health Association should be at the table – higher education perspective…will find contact or email.  Combine/add a diagnosis/ICA/Hedia code for Nature deficit Disorder as well as physical inactivity.”
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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