Recap: 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting 1

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By Sarah Prowitt, MPH, ORISE Fellow, Alison Vaux-Bjerke, MPH, ORISE Fellow, and Katrina L. Piercy, PhD, RD, Physical Activity and Nutrition Advisor at ODPHP; and Emily Bhutiani, MPH, CRTA Fellow at the National Cancer Institute, NIH

July 14-15, 2016 marked the first meeting of the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee.  Seventeen of the nation’s leading physicians, scientists, and public health researchers were officially sworn in by Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, and charged with examining the strongest science in physical activity and health. (Meet the experts) Their efforts will generate a comprehensive scientific advisory report that will ultimately inform the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

What happened at the first public meeting?

After a brief history of past work and a reminder that the majority of Americans do not meet the current Guidelines, the Committee members prioritized topics related to physical activity and health to include in their advisory report.  The Committee considered topics covered in the first edition of the Guidelines (released in 2008), as well as new areas of study that have emerged in the fields of public health and physical activity over the past eight years. In addition to the new topics chosen for review, the Committee will review the first edition of the Guidelines and determine if new evidence suggests that revisions should be made to current recommendations.

The Committee plans to investigate the following topics:

  • Brain Health
  • Physical Activity at Different Life Stages
    • Youth
    • Aging
  • Heart Health and Weight Management
  • Cancer and Chronic Diseases
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Dose Response of Physical Activity
  • Behavior Change/Promotion of Physical Activity

In addition to a review of current evidence about the benefits of physical activity for general health, the Scientific Advisory Report will include the results of systematic reviews conducted to answer in-depth research questions about these topic areas.

What happens next?

Over the next two years, the Committee will review the most current and strongest scientific evidence available. The Committee will meet periodically in public to provide updates on its work, discuss research findings and the level of evidence available, and synthesize the scientific assessments into its Scientific Advisory Committee Report.

This is an open and public process, one in which individuals can actively participate by submitting a comment on health.gov/paguidelines/pcd or attending one of the Committee’s public meetings. The Committee will meet again in the Fall and members of the public may present oral comments during the meeting. Meeting announcements will be shared through the PAG Supporter Network and on www.health.gov/paguidelines. If you’re curious about what you missed at the first meeting, view the archived webcast recordings for day 1 and day 2.

What’s the result of this process?

The Committee’s Scientific Advisory Report will provide a summary of the most current and strongest scientific evidence available. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will use the advisory report to inform the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, a document that impacts federal policies allowing every American in every community the opportunity to live a healthy, active life.

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