Recap: 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting 2

By Sarah Prowitt, MPH, ORISE Fellow and Alison Vaux-Bjerke, MPH, ORISE Fellow

On October 27-28, 2016 the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee held its second public meeting at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. It was the second of five planned public meetings. At the first public meeting in July, the Committee decided on nine topics and formed a subcommittee for each. This second meeting provided an opportunity for the subcommittees to present their progress to the full Committee and gain consensus on several issues.

What happened at the second public meeting?

On day 1, members of the public presented oral testimony, shared their opinions, and provided advice to the Committee on the scope and nature of its work. Next, Dr. Rick Troiano of the National Cancer Institute at NIH presented research comparing device-based (i.e. wearable devices such as pedometers, etc.) and self-reported measurement of physical activity. The Committee plans to review studies utilizing both types of data. Dr. Troiano noted the value of both types of measures: self-reported data can give context for when and how physical activity is happening while accelerometer data can provide an unbiased snapshot of the amount and intensity of physical activity performed.

The Committee reviewed the current Guidelines and noted several topic areas of interest to address. The Committee discussed the transition at age 18 between the current recommendations: 60 minutes per day for youth aged 6 – 17 versus 150 minutes per week for adults aged 18 and older. Next, Committee member Dr. Kathy Janz presented on the relationship between physical activity and musculoskeletal health. The Committee then discussed the role of fitness (which includes cardiorespiratory endurance, and muscular strength and endurance) in its review of the science. The first day of the meeting ended with a discussion of the continuum of physical activity, extending from sedentary behavior to vigorous intensity exercise.

Day 2 began with presentations from each subcommittee chair. Each subcommittee shared its prioritized systematic review questions and the current status in the literature review process. Following each presentation was a group discussion.

The Committee then prioritized the systematic review questions based on the following criteria:

  • Public health impact
  • Potential to inform public health policy or programs
  • Existence of mature scientific evidence
  • Potential generalizability to the population of interest

The Committee agreed on the full question list and identified the order in which the first several rounds of systematic review searches would be conducted.

As a result of the discussions during the second day of the meeting, the Committee modified its systematic review questions in several important ways. First, the Committee will pay special attention to literature examining physical activity and health outcomes in those aged 18-35 to determine if there is sufficient evidence to include additional guidance for this transitional demographic group. Second, the review questions will capture fitness as a moderator to health outcomes. Third, the Committee will look at literature on pregnancy as a specific demographic group. Finally, adverse events associated with physical activity will be identified in the systematic literature review searches.

If you weren’t able to attend in person or want to re-watch the action, you can view the archived webcast recordings of day 1 and day 2.

What happens next?

The Committee will analyze the results generated from the systematic review searches and will report on progress during its future public meetings. The Committee will meet three times in 2017— the third weeks of March, July, and October. The public is invited to view the live meetings or can watch the videocasts on demand. Meeting days/times will be announced via a Federal Register notice and posted on The Committee will summarize its work and make evidence-based recommendations on physical activity and health to the federal government in its Advisory Committee Scientific Report. To stay up to date on the Committee’s progress, visit and sign up for email updates.

Get involved!

It’s not too late to make your voice heard: you can submit a written comment to the Committee throughout the duration of their work.

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