Physical Activity Promotion
Over the last twenty-five years, studies have shown over and over again that human beings need physical activity! Yet almost 60% of people living in Florida do not get enough physical activity. Physical activity patterns are set early in life, and it takes creativity, and determination, to change them. Although it takes a personal commitment to be more active on an individual level, there are many ways that our environment and policies can be changed to encourage physical activity and help people continue to be active all of their lives.
A National Call to Action
"Families need to weave physical activity into the fabric of their daily lives. Health professionals, in addition to being role models for healthy behaviors, need to encourage their patients to get out of their chairs and start fitness programs tailored to their individual needs. Businesses need to learn from what has worked in the past and promote worksite fitness, an easy option for workers. Community leaders need to reexamine whether enough resources have been devoted to the maintenance of parks, playgrounds, community centers, and physical education. Schools and universities need to reintroduce daily, quality physical activity as a key component of a comprehensive education. And the media and entertainment industries need to use their vast creative abilities to show all Americans that physical activity is healthful and fun We Americans always find the will to change when change is needed. I believe we can team up to create a new physical activity movement in this country. In doing so, we will save precious resources, precious futures, and precious lives. The time for action and activity is now." Donna E. Shalala, 1996, Secretary of Health and Human Services
The CDC has published a book "Promoting Physical Activity: A Guide for Community Action" designed as a resource for professionals and volunteers who wish to promote physical activity in almost any setting: a community, a workplace, a school setting, a health care facility, an agency or organization, or a religious institution. The ultimate goals of this book are to provide direction and assistance in program planning and to serve as a flexible blueprint for action for professionals who are on the front lines of intervention in any setting. An overview of this book and ordering information can be found at the following website: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/pahand.htm. This website also provides links to other nutrition and physical activity publications.
The Guide to Community Preventive Services evaluates evidence on the effectiveness of population-based interventions that have been used in communities to increase physical activity. Each recommendation is based on the strength of the evidence of effectiveness found during systematic reviews. Decision makers should consider these evidence-based recommendations and local needs, goals, and constraints when choosing appropriate interventions. http://www.thecommunityguide.org/pa/.
Physical Activity Promotion at the Worksite
The worksite is a logical place to reach adults with health promotion messages. There are many resources available to guide the development of employee wellness programs; below find two such web resources:
Physical Activity Promotion for Children a list and description of physical activity programs for children and teens.
The Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Chronic Disease, is also working to promote physical activity in Florida. We work with the 67 Florida county health departments to promote physical activity in their communities, with their clients and with their employees. We provide county health departments with the materials and information they need to help their communities begin to be more physically active. We also participate in the Florida Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity, and we work with other agencies (Department of Education) and organizations (American Heart Association) that have similar goals.
For more information about physical activity and physical activity promotion, contact the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention.