Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

March 2020

New CDC Initiative Aims to Boost Activity for Americans

By Dave Ramont

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works to protect America’s health, safety and security, responding to our most pressing health threats. Recently it launched the national Active People, Healthy Nation initiative, designed to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027.

It’s no secret that increased physical activity can improve health and quality of life while reducing health care costs. These improvements can help reduce the risk of at least 20 chronic diseases and conditions, including colon and breast cancer, stroke and high blood pressure. They can reduce depression and prevent weight gain.

And yet, the CDC points out that only one in four adults and one in five high school students fully meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. And about 31 million adults aged 50 years or older are inactive, meaning they get no physical activity beyond that of daily living. Inadequate levels of physical activity are associated with $117 billion in annual healthcare costs, and contribute to one in ten premature deaths.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, second edition, recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, while advising that young people be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. The Active People, Healthy Nation campaign seeks to move approximately 10 million adults and 2 million young people to meet these guidelines. Additionally, the initiative aims to move 15 million more adults from inactive to some moderate-intensity activity every day, like brisk walking.

The key is to move more and sit less, and individuals and families are encouraged to build physical activity into their day by taking a brisk walk or hike, walking the dog, choosing the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, walking or cycling to run errands, parking further away in the parking lot or getting off the bus early and walking the rest of the way. The initiative looks to help communities make physical activity safe and enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities by building active and walkable communities.

Community leaders are encouraged to promote physical activity programs for schools and youths, as well as educate and support families and individuals to be more active. They can create activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations including school, grocery stores, work and home. They can recruit community members to work with various populations, designing and implementing solutions to reduce disparities in physical inactivity.

According to new state maps of adult physical inactivity prevalence recently released by the CDC, all states and territories had more than 15% of adults who were physically inactive. This ranged from 17.3% of people in Colorado to 47.7% in Puerto Rico. Ruth Petersen M.D., director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, said that many of these inactive adults may not realize how much it affects their health. “Being physically active helps you sleep better, feel better and reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”

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