Recap: 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting 5

By ODPHP Visiting Scholar Susanne DeSantis and Alison Vaux-Bjerke, MPH, Senior ORISE Prevention Science Fellow

The fifth and final public meeting of the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee was held from October 16- 20, 2017. During this meeting, eight subcommittees and one work group presented all remaining conclusions to the full Committee for deliberation and approval. Meeting materials, including presentation slides, archived videocast links, and a meeting summary will be available on the Meeting 5 page on

Presentation Highlights: Day 1

Cardiometabolic Health and Weight Management Subcommittee: physical activity decreases risk of developing hypertension in individuals with normal or pre-hypertensive blood pressure. PAGAC Grade: Strong

  • Cancer-Primary Prevention Subcommittee: physical activity decreases the risk of developing bladder, breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal, gastric, and renal cancers. PAGAC Grade: Strong
  • Exposure Subcommittee: high-intensity interval training can effectively improve insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and body composition in adults. PAGAC Grade: Moderate

Presentation Highlights: Day 2

  • Youth Subcommittee: physical activity reduces risk for excessive body weight in children ages 3-6 years old. PAGAC Grade: Strong
  • Individuals with Chronic Conditions Subcommittee: physical activity decreases pain and improves physical function in adults with knee/hip osteoarthritis. PAGAC Grade: Strong
  • Pregnancy Work Group: physical activity before or during pregnancy lowers the risk of developing gestational diabetes and postpartum depression. PAGAC Grade: Strong

Presentation Highlights: Day 3

  • Aging Subcommittee: physical activity improves physical function in older adults, including those with frailty. PAGAC Grade: Strong
  • Brain Health Subcommittee: physical activity reduces risk of developing depression in individuals across the lifespan. PAGAC Grade: Strong
  • Promotion of Physical Activity Subcommittee: theory-based interventions and behavior change techniques are effective for increasing physical activity levels in the general adult population. PAGAC Grade: Strong

Presentation Highlights: Day 4

Dr. Don Wright, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of ODPHP, concluded the public meeting with closing remarks on the history of physical activity programs and policies in the United States, the importance of health promotion activities, and congratulated the Committee members on their efforts thus far to inform policy and improve the health of the nation.

What Happens Next?

The Committee is compiling all of the evidence it reviewed into a scientific report, which will be submitted to the Secretary of HHS in early 2018. The report will be posted online at and a public comment period will be opened. The evidence portfolios for each of the research questions also will be posted at that time. These will detail the methodology used to gather evidence, develop conclusion statements, and grade the evidence supporting the conclusion for each question. Federal staff will utilize the report, along with public and federal agency comments, to write the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which are expected for release in late 2018

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