Strategy 1-4: Provide support for the science and practice of physical activity.

Federal, state, and local government agencies should make physical activity a national health priority through support for the translation of scientific evidence into best-practice applications.

For federal-level government agencies, potential actions include

  the Department of Health and Human Services establishing processes for the regular and routine communication of scientific advances in understanding the health benefits of physical activity, particularly with respect to obesity prevention (these processes could include, but are not limited to, regularly scheduled updates of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and reports of the U.S. Surgeon General); and

  all federal government agencies with relevant interests developing priority strategies to promote and support the National Physical Activity Plan, a trans-sector strategy for increasing physical activity among Americans.

For state and local health departments, potential actions include

  developing plans and strategies for making promotion of physical activity a health priority at the state and local levels.

Physical activity is defined as any movement requiring “skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure” (Caspersen et al., 1985, p. 126); exercise refers to a specific type of physical activity that is planned, repetitive, and purposeful in increasing physical activity (Caspersen et al., 1985). National guidelines for recommended levels of physical activity for the general health of both adults and children are for adults to engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week and for children to engage in at least 60 minutes of a combination of aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening physical activity per day (see also Box 3-3 in Chapter 3). (It should

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