Dedicating Awareness Months to Helping Families Avoid Obesity by Physical Activity


Move Forward - National Physical Therapy Month

Montefiore Medical Center Physical Therapy Department promoted physical activity by sponsoring a two-mile run/walk to benefit B’N Fit, a Montefiore program that teaches teens how to adopt healthy, physically active lifestyles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 68% of adults over the age of 20 are either overweight or obese. 

With Americans’ health challenges in mind, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) dedicated October’s annual National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) to letting people know that  children and adults both able-bodied and differently-abled can help prevent obesity and its consequences by following the HHS Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. We chose to place our emphasis on obesity prevention

According to a 2009 PEW Research Center study, 61 percent of American adults look online for medical help. Knowing this we decided to engage our audience by hosting a Tweet Chat. We partnered with AOL’s “That’s Fit,” a popular, interactive, online fitness, health and wellness resource to host the chat and addressed issues related to the role of physical activity in staying fit, starting an exercise regimen, and exercise considerations for people who are obese and/or have type 2 diabetes. We found that this was a great addition to our PR efforts, as our post-chat report indicated that we reached an estimated audience of 81,000.  We plan to incorporate social media into our NPTM efforts for the foreseeable future and we plan to encourage our members to make social media part of their own efforts.

We developed a variety of materials for members, the media, and the public.  For APTA members, the NPTM Web page featured new additions to our “staple” resources such as sample Facebook and Twitter posts and a downloadable board game.  For the public and the media, we included some of the above, with links to HHS physical activity guidelines, including guidelines for adults with disabilities and health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. We also posted a “physical activity” page on our consumer Web site that included information from our press release and links to our Find-a-PT database and a YouTube video about physical activities for kids of all abilities.

It was satisfying to see the creative ways in which members got the word out in their communities.  These included free community lectures, booths at local health fairs, a run/walk to benefit a program that teaches teens how to adopt healthy, physically active lifestyles, and a professor and her students visiting all three national morning shows. We always ask for members to send us their photos and descriptions of their events so we can showcase them on our NPTM page.  We also provide links to the previous years’ descriptions and photos so members can get ideas for the current year.