Recap: 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting 3


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


On March 23, 2017 the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee held its third public meeting, which expanded on its work from meeting 1 and meeting 2.

Highlights from the third public meeting

The day began with presentations from the subcommittee chairs. Each subcommittee shared its progress since the last meeting, including draft conclusions and grades for its first question. The full Committee deliberated and provided feedback after each presentation.

Subcommittee Presentation Highlights

The Sedentary Behavior Subcommittee is investigating the relationship between sedentary behavior and all-cause mortality. Subcommittee chair Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk presented results that indicate that the relationship between sedentary behavior and all-cause mortality varies by levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. In fact, one meta-analysis demonstrated that high levels of physical activity (60-75 minutes a day) may eliminate or attenuate the increased risk of death associated with high amounts of sitting.

Dr. Russ Pate and the Youth Subcommittee are looking into the research on physical activity and health outcomes in children 5 years of age and younger. Currently the Guidelines include youth ages 6-17 years of age. While the subcommittee is currently still reviewing the literature on cardiorespiratory fitness, metabolic health outcomes, and body weight, Dr. Pate presented the preliminary results of the evidence for bone health. The subcommittee reported that higher levels of physical activity are associated with better bone-related outcomes in children 5 years of age and younger.

The Individuals with Chronic Conditions Subcommittee is examining the relationship between physical activity and a number of chronic conditions. The current Guidelines focus on preventive effects of physical activity, which include lowering the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. However, the Committee recognizes that a significant number of Americans currently have one or more chronic diseases and is looking to see if more specific guidance for individuals with certain chronic conditions can be gleaned from the scientific literature. This subcommittee is starting with a review of the relationship between physical activity and mortality or cancer recurrence among cancer survivors. Subcommittee chair Dr. David Buchner presented the draft conclusions for two cancers for the subcommittee’s first question. For breast cancer and colorectal cancer survivors, moderate evidence suggests that physical activity after diagnosis is associated with decreased all-cause and cancer site-specific mortality.

The Committee invited Dr. Bill Haskell, chair of the 2008 Committee, to present his perspective on determining physical activity targets (i.e., dose-response) for the Advisory Committee’s scientific report. He also highlighted research that previously sedentary individuals achieve health benefits from any amount of physical activity, even when not meeting the Guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week. These findings reinforce the first recommendation in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americansavoid physical inactivity.

The Committee also discussed how to approach physical activity recommendations for the transitional period from youth to adulthood, physical activity during pregnancy, as well as the role of fitness in the report. These topics have public health significance and members of the Committee are collaborating to ensure they are addressed.

Finally, the Committee discussed examining whether conclusions vary by weight status and decided to include that as a cross-cutting topic that would be searched within each of the literature reviews. Co-chair Dr. Ken Powell elaborated on Dr. Haskell’s presentation with further discussion of the challenges of setting physical activity targets across multiple outcomes, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and various types of cancer.

All of the subcommittee’s presentations are available to view online. If you weren’t able to watch the meeting live or you want to re-watch the action, you can view the archived videocast.

What happens next?

The Committee will meet two additional times in 2017— the third weeks of July and October. 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 its work.

Spread the word!

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