Giving the National Physical Activity Plan a Leg Up



YMCA Active Older Adults

One of my favorite quotes from the movie Sea Biscuit is, “This is not the finish line, my friends. This is the start of the race.” I consider May 3, 2010 – the day that the Nation’s first Physical Activity Plan was launched – as the start of the race to increase the number of American’s striving to achieve the amount of physical activity recommended for their demographic in the National Physical Activity Guidelines. It is a race that my organization, the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA) believes is critical to improving the health of our Nation and reducing the cost of healthcare.

NCPPA is off and running ourselves, providing the leadership for implementation of the Plan. We have been working for several months to build a network of organizations dedicated to ensuring that the strategies and tactics included in each of the eight sectors in the Plan becomes a reality.

Never before has the urgency of physical inactivity and its complications been so widely reported. The rise in awareness – along with a better understanding of what interventions work and how to apply them has provided the momentum for The Plan and is what is fueling organizations throughout the country to ask “How can we help?”

The National Implementation Team is a tiered collaborative effort with organizations serving as sector leaders, strategy leaders and strategy supporters. NCPPA has built a team of 15 organizations that have agreed to serve as leaders across the sectors. These leaders will coordinate the efforts of the strategy leaders in their sector and the strategy leaders will in turn coordinate the strategy supporters. In many cases, these organizations are going to continue efforts on initiatives that they have previously been working on; however there is now more opportunity for collaboration and visibility. In other cases, they may choose to work on a brand new initiative but one that is very much in alignment with their established goals and visions.

The National Physical Activity Plan will have unprecedented reach and this is just one of the reasons, that the Plan is a unique effort. In the aggregate, the reach among the fifteen organizations serving as Sector Leaders represent: 

  • 315 public health officials at every level of government
  • 48 state boards of education providing oversight to almost 46 million children
  • 1,000,000 certified professionals working in health, education, transportation, fitness, business, and the nonprofit world
  • Over 2.8 billion media impressions
  • More than 390,000,000 consumers

The ability to reach such a diverse and distributed network with a prescription for change and simple strategies to achieve it is one of the most powerful components of the National Plan.

If your organization is interested in becoming involved with the NPAP, please let us know by visiting the NCPPA website and clicking on the Get Involved! button.

What sector, strategy and/or tactics do you see your organization becoming involved with? What do you think is the “low hanging fruit” in your sector(s) of interest?