National Physical Activity Plan poised as long-term solution: You can be a part

This newly launched National Physical Activity plan is more than just a statement and a shaking finger about what you SHOULD do; instead, it is a collaboration that will work on helping to implement plans and programs. SNEWS talked to organizers to find out how businesses, brands and retailers can get involved.
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Plans to help inactive, unfit, unhealthy Americans get moving have blossomed over the years --only to wilt when the buy-in, participation and outlook haven’t been broad or long-term enough. Or all they do is tell people what they should do, which most people already know.

The backers of the newly launched National Physical Activity Plan said they hope to change that with their non-governmental partnership that brings together public and private sectors to work together on a roadmap for change in policy, programs and community initiatives.

“This is a national initiative that goes well beyond just telling people to exercise. We are recommending policies, programs and initiatives that will change our communities in ways that enable all Americans to be physically active,” Russell Pate, Ph.D., chair of the National Physical Activity Plan (www.physicalactivityplan.org), said in a statement.

The document, released May 3, is the launch pad for the next year of implementation being coordinated by the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA, www.ncppa.org). Before the plan actually reaches the public in the next eight to 12 months, the NCPPA and its implementation coordinator Allison Kleinfelter will begin to work with business and industry to establish broader networks, sponsors, a corporate council and committees.

“It’s not something (now) for the public,” Kleinfelter told SNEWS®. “More than anything else, we want the communication to get into the marketplace carried on the backs of corporations and businesses. The public goes into their stores and buys their products, and we need to make it real at that level.”

But before that happens, the real work must get done, she said -- and that doesn’t mean just issuing a government statement. In fact, she said, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) isn’t directly involved, other than offering an organizational structure.

Specific avenues and sectors will need strategies, including education, health care, transportation and planning, recreation, and business and industry.

“Successfully implementing the plan will depend, in large part, on the willingness of leaders at every level to enact the kinds of changes that will encourage and allow people to become more physically active,” Pate said in the statement. “Currently, there are too many barriers to active lifestyles and too many Americans are left behind.”

Making changes will include, per plan organizers:

>> Providing a clear roadmap for increasing Americans’ physical activity in both the short-term and long-term;

>> Developing strategies for increasing physical activity in all sectors of society and addressing disparities;

>> Creating a social movement to sustain interest and involvement;

>> Developing new strategies for promoting physical activity;

>> Monitoring progress to assess achievements in increasing physical activity.

At the May 3 launch, the program also kicked off “Instant Recess,” which encourages 10-minute physical activity breaks everywhere, including worksites, schools, churches and homes.

Getting involved

In a statement released to SNEWS about corporate engagement in the plan, organizers stated:

A national plan to get America moving is an idea whose time has come. The notion that the nation needs to be more physically active is not new. Myriad individuals, professional organizations and even communities have long been working toward the same goal.

What’s different, it goes on to state, is the concept of such broad collaboration.

>> Larger businesses can get immediately involved by sponsoring parts of the plan or being a supporter of the Corporate Council ($15,000-$75,000).

>> Being a part doesn’t only mean writing large checks. One can also get involved with a committee “to help shape what this will look like in the marketplace,” Kleinfelter explained.

>> In addition, one can tap into the various strategies already suggested in the plan to help themselves with ongoing or new local programs.

>> One can also get involved with training to help local and state communities, she said.

>> When the plan is ready for the public, everyone can help spread the word at a community level and implement programs locally or regionally.

Go to www.physicalactivityplan.org, click on “Get Involved” and sign up there to receive updates, as well as to express interest. Corporations interested in some kind of financial support can email or call Kleinfelter, allisonk@achievability.net or 717-439-7371.

“This plan is largely policy based,” she said, “so physical activity becomes easy, so it’s available and easy at all our life path points.”

--Therese Iknoian

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