Get Moving America!
The Department of Health and Human Services published the second edition of, Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This edition has the updated recommendations for physical activity for the first time in ten years. As they noted in their report, the main recommendation is, “Get Moving America”. The guidelines have many of the key points as first outlined in 2008; however, studies show that only 20% of Americans meet those recommendations for activity.
While the guidelines are similar to 2008, they do include areas with new research demonstrating evidence for the health benefits of increased physical activity. The studies showed that increased physical activity improved health and weight status in young children, improved cognition in youth, reduced risk of cancer at additional sites, more brain health benefits, improved sleep, reduction in falls in the elderly and improved quality of life.
One of the newer areas of emphasis includes the importance of increasing movement in the lives of the sedentary, even if in very short increments. The previous message was using at least 10-minute increments of aerobic activity toward the goal of 150 minutes per week. The message in the 2018 guidelines is that all movement is helpful. For individuals who are very sedentary, even adding light intensity activity reduces all-cause mortality, decreases cardiovascular disease and reduces incidence of type 2 Diabetes.
The guidelines also review a summary of the literature on promoting physical activity and note the following: individual level interventions by medical providers can increase the amount of physical activity in youth and adults especially when based on behavioral change theories. Therefore, the message from providers must include increasing physical activity. In addition, other research shows that multi-component school based programs can be effective and improving the built environment is essential to increase safe physical activity.
At Cycling CME, we believed strongly in the importance of physical activity in the treatment and prevention of chronic disease as well as improving quality of life. As medical providers, we have an obligation to encourage and guide others to make physical activity an integral part of their lives. Have an active day.
Piercy, KL, et al. The physical activity guidelines for Americans. JAMA. 2018