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National Physical Activity Plan
United States

About Me:

Russell Pate, NPAP BloggerRussell R. Pate, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Exercise Science in Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.  Pate is a national authority on physical activity in children and youth with more than 25 years experience studying physical fitness, measurement of physical activity, determinants of physical activity, and physical activity interventions.  Pate is Chair of the Coordinating Committee for the development of the first National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) for the United States.

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Recent Posts by NPAP

Achieving Population Changes in Physical Activity through Targeting Specific Settings

by NPAP March 21, 2011

Children exercising

“One day, all Americans will be physically active and then will live, work, and play in environments that facilitate regular physical activity.”  This is the stated vision of the US National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP), and it speaks to the importance of targeting specific settings.  Success of the NPAP will come, in large part, as the result of local actions that target specific settings such as schools, workplaces, community streets, and parks.  The NPAP is chock-full of Strategies and Tactics aimed at specific settings.   Here are just a few examples of Strategies and Tactics taken directly from the NPAP that target such settings.

In targeting the workplace, the first strategy from the Business and Industry Sector aims to identify, summarize, and disseminate best practices, models, and evidence-based physical activity interventions in the workplace. Within this strategy are several, more specific tactics including: Recognize organizations that are examples of best practices; Recruit key business and industry leaders to play central roles in influencing their peers.  Are there businesses that you are aware of that can serve as models of an active workplace for other employers?

Within the first strategy from the Parks, Recreation, Fitness and Sports sector there is an emphasis on local facilities providing access for all members of the population.  One specific tactic is:   Provide programs in parks, recreation, fitness, and sports that are appropriate for individuals of both genders, diverse cultures, abilities, developmental stages and needs and that have demonstrated positive physical activity outcomes.  Do you know of programs that have demonstrated positive outcomes, meeting the needs of a diverse community?

Increasing physical activity through active transportation is a very attractive option on many levels.  The NPAP has a sector devoted to this which includes the following tactic:  Support and increase incentives for community projects to create safe and accessible active transportation networks, including not just roadways with pedestrian, bicycle, and transit accommodation, but also networks of greenways, trails, and multi-use pathways. How would you go about rallying support for such initiatives in your community?

Because of their broad reach, schools represent an ideal target environment for increasing physical activity in youth.  Within the NPAP’s Education sector, there are many specific recommendations for doing just that.  One such recommendation includes working with teachers through requiring pre-service and continuing education for physical education and elementary classroom teachers to deliver high-quality physical education and physical activity programs.  As a concerned parent, school board member, or citizen, what steps are you taking to ensure regular physical activity for all students in your area?

Part of the process of evaluating the NPAP is documenting actions targeting specific settings.  Based on the examples you see above, or any other of the NPAP’s strategies and tactics, please tell us what is happening in your area by going to

National Physical Activity Plan Calls for Policy Changes

by NPAP September 15, 2010

Couple Walking

As was written in NCPPA’s recent blog, public policy is a complex process, involving participation from individuals and organizations working to influence those in position to make policy change.  Evident in the NPAP’s guiding principles (see below), the NPAP is a policy document at heart.  If acted upon, the policy changes called for in the NPAP will create environments that weave physical activity back into the fabric of American’s daily lives.  Being more active will not just be an easier choice to make, but will be a more organic feature of daily living.

Now that the NPAP has been launched, and the NCPPA is spearheading its implementation, the Coordinating Committee that developed the NPAP is poised to oversee evaluation and regular revision of the NPAP. So what does success of an NPAP look like, and how is it evaluated?  Evaluation of an NPAP will ideally include surveillance of and regular reporting on a myriad of proximal and distal outcomes of interest. Naturally, observing more Americans meeting and surpassing physical activity guidelines is the outcome of greatest interest, and we’re fortunate to already have some surveillance systems in place to measure this.  However, this is a distal variable in which change may not be observable for many years to come.

The challenge is to focus efforts on more short term outcomes that will add up to changes in physical activity at the population level.  The NPAP is chock full of strategies and tactics aimed at policies that will lead to changes in these short term outcomes.  Is there a strategy or tactic in the NPAP that you feel is of paramount importance in creating short term change?  If so, what metrics might you use to evaluate and report on that strategy or tactic? 

As the field of physical activity and public health evolves, and as the NPAP meets success in implementation, the NPAP will need to remain current.  Policies will be acted upon, bills will be passed, and environments changed. As a web-based document, many small revisions can be regularly made to the NPAP.  However, the NPAP will need to undergo substantial revision every two to four years.  Looking into your crystal ball, which strategies and tactics do you envision will have been successfully implemented four years from now?  How would you revise the NPAP to reflect such change?

NPAP’s Seven Guiding Principles:

  • Use evidence to inform the Plan’s actions to promote physical activity.
  • Include initiatives for all socio-demographic groups.
  • Aim actions at local, state, federal, and institutional levels.
  • Encourage the involvement of diverse stakeholders to guide the content of the Plan.
  • Ground the Plan in the ecological model of health behavior.
  • Ensure that the Plan’s initiatives reduce health disparities across socio-demographic groups.
  • Present the Plan as a “living document” that is updated on a regular basis

If you are interested in contributing to the evaluation of and/or the regular revision of the NPAP, please visit our Web site and find out more about how to get involved.


National Plan

National Physical Activity Plan Launched

by NPAP May 12, 2010

Happy family outside

I’m very pleased to announce the first National Physical Activity Plan for the United States.  The launch on May 3rd represents the culmination of a two-year effort to develop the Plan and the beginning of the long-term effort to implement it.

Through implementation, government, private industry, non-profits, communities and individuals can now work together under a common set of strategies aimed at one thing; getting more Americans to be more physically active.  The Plan’s strategies and tactics provide a framework through which individuals and agencies can rally support for new physical activity-related initiatives and initiatives they may already be pursuing.

As a “living document,” available to the public at, the Plan will be evaluated and updated regularly to accurately reflect its successes and a fluid landscape of physical activity and public health policy.  As such, we welcome on-going feedback on the Plan’s Strategies and Tactics and encourage you and your colleagues to help keep the Plan fresh.  Is there one strategy or tactic of the plan that you endorse?  If so, please say which one and why you believe in its importance.


National Plan

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