The American College of Sports Medicine today hailed federal legislation with huge potential to improve public health and deliver co-benefits including lower health care costs and reduced environmental impacts.
H.R. 2179, “The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Act,” introduced by Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) and Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL), would require the secretary of Health and Human Services to publish physical activity guidelines every ten years based on the latest scientific evidence. During the intervening five-year period, the secretary would be required to issue a midcourse report that outlines best practices and ongoing issues relating to physical activity. The original U.S. physical activity guidelines were published in 2008.
The American College of Sports Medicine enthusiastically expressed its support. ACSM president Janet Walberg Rankin, Ph.D., FACSM, said, “Since the first federal U.S. physical activity guidelines were published in 2008, much research has led to a greater understanding of the relationship between physical activity and health. We are also learning how to motivate people to lead healthy lifestyles, and how better to incorporate physical activity and exercise into daily living. Just as with nutritional guidelines, Americans need physical activity guidelines that reflect the growing evidence base supporting this crucial area.”
Congressman Ron Kind, sponsor of the legislation, said, “The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Act will help provide valuable, up-to-date information about leading a healthy, active and productive life.” “Public health and physical fitness are pressing concerns for our country. By empowering parents, students, and local leaders with access to more resources and programs, we’re taking a comprehensive approach to improving America’s health.”
Congressman Aaron Schock, an original co-sponsor of the bill, said, “An important aspect of living a healthy lifestyle is embracing good habits early in life. This includes educating both parents and children about the health benefits of physical activity. Key to good decisions is good information. By using a similar system to the Agriculture Department’s food pyramid, our bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services to publish physical activity guidelines as a tool that families can use as they work together toward balancing the demands of life. Our bill is about arming the American public with good information so they can make smart and healthy choices for themselves. With two-thirds of our country obese and overweight, personal choices about food and physical activity can do more to curb rising health care costs than any pieces of health insurance legislation.”
Identical legislation (S. 531) was introduced in the Senate earlier in the year by Senator Harkin and Senator Wicker, garnering widespread support for its potential to provide better public health, cost savings and other co-benefits.
- Courtesy of ACSM