Friday, October 23, 2009

Health and Fitness: Experts Applaud Physical Activity Guidelines Bill

“As debate continues over health system reform, a proposal with vast preventive power is drawing widespread support. Scientists, physicians, public health experts and others have rallied in favor of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Act of 2009. The measure (S. 1810 in the Senate and H.R. 3851 in the House), provides that the Department of Health and Human Services update federal physical activity guidelines at least every five years. The bill's sponsors reflect bipartisan support for healthy lifestyles as preventive medicine: Reps. Bart Gordon (D-TN), Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Ron Kind (D-WI) and Zach Wamp (R-TN); Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sam Brownback (R-KS). ‘The first federal guidelines for physical activity, released in October 2008, were a big step forward," said James Pivarnik, Ph.D., FACSM, president of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). ‘The American public would be well served by guidelines that are updated regularly, like federal guidelines for nutrition, based on the latest scientific and medical information."’ ACSM led the call for federal physical activity guidelines, and a number of its members lent their expertise to the process of developing them. In 2006, ACSM convened a broad coalition of more than 40 organizations, resulting in six key calls to action – including the creation of regular updates to federal physical activity guidelines. Another recommendation, a National Physical Activity Plan, is under development. Many organizations involved in the 2006 policy roundtable are among those who have endorsed the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Act.”

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