I’m just back from 6 rigorous days at the AAHPERD Convention in Tampa. Rigorous, not because I was physically active! Rigorous because I made 5 presentations and participated in 2 additional national meetings that contributed an additional 9 hours of sedentary living to my week. I was again reminded that if we don’t plan for physical activity it will not happen—even if the weather is superb and the beach is next door.
I was also reminded that lots of physical educators are unaware of how many others are attempting to get moving. For example, in October the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the first ever National Guidelines for physical activity. These guidelines describe the types and amounts of physical activity that offer substantial health benefits to Americans. These follow the Surgeon Generals Report on Physical Activity by 12 years (in 1996), and are a BIG deal!
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans can be found at http://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/
Briefly for children and adolescents, the guidelines call for 60 minutes or more of physical activity (PA) daily. Most of this should be of moderate- or vigorous-intensity, and include vigorous intensity at least 3 days a week. Additionally the activity should include muscle-strengthening PA at least 3 days a week and bone-strengthening PA at least 3 days a week.
These guidelines were derived for a thorough review of the evidence related to physical activity and health. This evidence is summarized (if 683 pages can be considered a summary) in a document titled Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report 2008. It is also available free from Health and Human Services
Based on these new Guidelines, a National Plan for Physical Activity is being developed. This national plan will not only involve Education, but 7 other Sectors:
- Public Health
- Transportation/Urban Design/Community Planning
- Mass Media
- Health care
- Not for Profit Organizations
Wouldn’t it be nice if all these sectors came together to help promote physical activity? Actually they are! Each sector is producing a “White Paper” which will be presented at a national meeting in DC in early July.
Daryl Siedentop, former dean and professor emeritus at The Ohio State University, will produce the white paper for the education sector. It will have 10 important recommendations regarding how schools can be helpful in promoting physical activity. Stay tuned to see if your school program is aligned with these recommendations. If not, perhaps you will need to “Tampa” with it.