National Physical Activity Plan Seeks to Reduce Chronic Illness and Obesity

Increasing physical activity for greater health among the American public will take center stage on May 3 with the launch of the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP or Plan).  The signature events of the launch will be a press conference at the National Press Club and briefings with members of Congress in Washington, D.C.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Prevention Research Center at the University of South Carolina are providing the organizational infrastructure for writing the plan.  The implementation of the plan will be coordinated by the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA).  The goal of NPAP is “to encourage everyone to be more physically active, reduce barriers to inactivity, and make sure our communities and institutions provide opportunities to move.” 

Implementation of the Plan will take many years.  Strategies, policies and practices will be set to increase the percentage of Americans who meet physical activity guidelines throughout life.  “Results will include improved health and well-being; increased productivity; reduction of health disparities; and lowered rates of disease, disability, and premature death attributable to sedentary lifestyles.”  Areas of focus will include public health, business and industry, education, health care, mass media, parks/recreation/sports, transportation/urban design/community planning, and volunteer/nonprofit organization.

The CDC’s Trails for Health states:

The evidence is more convincing than ever: people of all ages who are generally not active can improve their health through physical activity. Physical activity can help to

  • Control weight.
  • Control high blood pressure.
  • Reduce risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and colon cancer.
  • Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Reduce arthritis pain and disability.
  • Prevent osteoporosis and falls.

The CDC and the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults should participate in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes five or more days per week.  This can include brisk walking or other activities on the many public trails throughout the country.  They suggest starting with 10 minutes and gradually increasing the length of activity.

The need for increase of physical activity is clear.  According to the NCPPA, sixty-three percent of children are no longer physically active by the time they reach high school.  Fifty-four percent of men and 66 percent of women age 75 and older engage in no leisure-time physical activity.  CDC estimates that if all physically inactive Americans became active, there would be a savings of $77 billion in annual medical costs.

For more information on NPAP and its launch see

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