By ADM Brett P. Giroir, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health
As the Assistant Secretary for Health, my office leads the development of guidelines, programs, and policies to lead America to healthier lives. One of the most important aspects of our work in OASH is to promote the importance of physical activity to achieve and maintain optimal health. Indeed, with the recent release of the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, we reaffirmed our commitment to ensuring that every American has evidence-based guidance on how to achieve the many health benefits of physical activity.
I am pleased to announce that we are building on this important work by reinstating the Science Board as part of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition (PCSFN). First established during the George W. Bush Administration, the science board is a subcommittee of PCSFN, comprised of leading academic experts in the fields of physical activity, sports, kinesiology, nutrition and related fields. In the 13 years since its inception, over 60 Science Board members have served as a valuable resource to the PCSFN. The Science Board will help inform our efforts to increase physical activity and youth sports participation in order to help children and teens get 60 minutes of physical activity each day, as is recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines.
Our intent to establish a science board dedicated to youth physical activity and sports is the result of many positive changes within OASH. Over the past two years, a group of career HHS employees from across the department have led an effort to Reimagine HHS, identifying organizational changes that can strengthen HHS’s public health portfolio through a more streamlined and stronger structure. In April, my office announced a revised structure which reorganized the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition (PCSFN) within the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP). This change became official earlier this month.
Within OASH, ODPHP leads the development of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the Healthy People initiative. The staff at ODPHP work to translate science into the policy and recommendations used throughout the public health field. The PCSFN is a Federal Advisory Committee, appointed to elevate the importance of physical activity and good nutrition. Since 1956, each President has established a council consisting of professional athletes, celebrities, and other national leaders to promote programs and initiatives that motivate people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to be active and healthy.
This change offers several positive opportunities, particularly in the areas of physical activity and youth sports. For example, ODPHP is preparing to release a draft of National Youth Sports Strategy (NYSS) for public comment in the coming weeks. This strategy was developed through close collaboration between ODPHP and PCSFN. With ODPHP and PCSFN officially joining forces, we will improve our capacity to increase sports participation and physical activity.
HHS remains dedicated to supporting the Federal Advisory Committee members of the PCSFN and their efforts to increase and improve sports participation, physical activity, and healthy eating among America’s youth nationwide.
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