Boston, MA (PRWEB) May 3, 2010
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) expressed today its ardent support of the United States’ first-ever National Physical Activity Plan (Plan) and has agreed to serve as co-chair of the Plan’s National Implementation Team for Business and Industry. A sweeping initiative to improve public health, the Plan was publicly released this morning at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
“Having a National Physical Activity Plan is an essential step in affecting the societal changes needed to make physical activity a natural and customary part of everyday American life,” says Joe Moore, IHRSA’s president and CEO. “For almost 30 years, the health club industry has been committed to increasing wellness in America by promoting exercise. We are extremely heartened today by the release of this Plan, and we are delighted to be engaged in this leadership role.”
The National Physical Activity Plan is a nationally organized effort to motivate people in every community to become and stay physically active, and to remove the barriers that may stand in their way. Supported by a wide range of public policy recommendations, the Plan is the product of a 10-month, public/private collaboration of experts in diverse fields, including input from scores of nonprofit organizations, corporations and public agencies.
Specifically, the Plan calls for policy, environmental and cultural changes to help all Americans enjoy the health benefits of physical activity. It provides a roadmap for change, addressing areas of concern from the education of health professionals to zoning laws, school policies, and workplace wellness programs. At least 12 states and a number of other countries have enacted physical activity plans, establishing best practices for making physical activity a routine part of daily life.
In part, the Plan is an answer to America’s alarming rates of adult and childhood obesity and decreasing levels of physical activity. Research has shown that physical activity and exercise can help prevent and treat obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease, depression, bone disease, cancer and other diseases. If implemented, measures called for in the National Physical Activity Plan could significantly improve public health, cut health care costs, and reduce health disparities.
“It’s imperative that we counter the negative transformation that we have seen in America’s health over the last 30 years as a result of sedentary lifestyles,” says Moore. “Bringing about behavior change within an entire culture and society requires a sweeping initiative that approaches the problem from multiple angles. This Plan gives us a framework and is the springboard from which we can make lasting societal changes that increase movement in America.”
IHRSA will be co-chairing the National Implementation Team for Business and Industry with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE). They will be working closely with the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA), which is providing the leadership for the Plan’s implementation.
The Plan was originally called for during a multi-organizational roundtable in 2006 convened by the American College of Sports Medicine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Prevention Research Center at the University of South Carolina provided the organizational infrastructure for the Plan.
The Plan is focused on eight key sectors of societal influence: Business and Industry; Education; Healthcare; Mass Media; Parks, Recreation, Fitness and Sports; Public Health; Transportation, Urban Design and Community Planning; and Volunteer and Non-Profit Organizations.
More information about the National Physical Activity Plan is available online at http://www.physicalactivityplan.org.
IHRSA is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. The association’s membership includes more than 9,000 clubs in 75 countries, along with over 650 industry suppliers.
IHRSA is an organizational affiliate of the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP); a member of the advisory board of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD); a founding member of the National Coalition to Promote Physical Activity (NCPPA); a partner with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in promoting the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines; a network member of the Exercise is Medicine™ initiative; was a primary participant in the launch of the Adult Fitness Test introduced by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; has been a partner with the HHS Office on Women’s Health to promote National Women’s Health Week, National Women’s Check-Up Day, and the Woman Challenge; partnered with the President’s Council in 1995 on the three-year "Get Up, Get Out" public awareness campaign focusing on youth fitness; was one of the earliest proponents of the PEP legislation (Carol M. White Physical Education Program); recently introduced the publication, "The Economic Benefits of Regular Exercise"; and is the driving force behind the Campaign for a Healthier America, a national grassroots project bringing together exercise enthusiasts to make healthy lifestyles a priority for all Americans. Through its member clubs, IHRSA has offered community outreach and health promotion programs since 1986, including Commit to Get Fit, Families Involved Together, Teen Fitness Connection, I Lost It at the Club!, and Get Active America!
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