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National Indian Health Board Goes the Extra Mile for Physical Activity

by IHRSA October 31, 2012

A thrilling new initiative of the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), "GO the EXTRA MILE with NIHB" greatly expands the reach of the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP).

NIHB Executive Director, Stacey Bohlen, described GO the EXTRA MILE in a recent letter to tribal representatives.

"The GO the EXTRA MILE initiative is a result of the NIHB signing the CEO pledge, which is part of a national campaign to encourage Executive Directors to commit to supporting and fostering a physically-active workplace. NIHB's GO the EXTRA MILE initiative achieves these goals by creating a workplace that supports physical activity for every member of its staff. Through the GO the EXTRA MILE with NIHB initiative, we will provide 30 staff minutes during the workday to walk one mile each day for a year. We will aggregate these miles and 'virtually' walk to each of the 12 Indian Health Service Areas, either to an Area Indian Health Board or to a Tribal Partner in Areas that do not have a Board."

The letter also invites the tribal representatives to sign the CEO Pledge - originally developed for the NPAP and now championed by the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA) - and take advantage of the GO the Extra Mile website, which will include a toolkit, electronic mapping, and access to information from the Association of American Indian Physicians.

The need for the initiative is urgent. According to NIHB, the age-adjusted incidence of Type 2 diabetes is higher among Amercian Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) than all other US racial and ethnic groups. Furthermore, the adult obesity rate among the AI/AN population is 39%, while the inactivity rate is over 50%.

IHRSA applauds NIHB for elevating the importance of physical activity and creating such an innovative initiative to dovetail with the CEO Pledge. We are hopeful that the leadership of NIHB and others will inspire novel outreach efforts across the country and deep into every segment of the population. Clearly, our national approach to addressing the sedentary criss must be judged, in great part, by its effectiveness in reaching the communities most impacted.

Above: NCPPA Executive Team takes CEO Pledge

About the CEO Pledge

The CEO Pledge is an evidence-based national campaign promoted by NCPPA to encourage every CEO in the United States to recognize physical activity as an important driver of employee health and business performance. Studies of employee wellness programs consistently find that executive leadership is critical to employee engagement. If employees believe that creating a culture of physical activity is an executive priority, employees are more likely to be physically active.

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