IS Members Trust for America’s Health, the YMCA of the USA, and the American Heart Association, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), led a January briefing on how Americans can improve the quality of their lives by committing to simple lifestyle changes. Independent Sector’s Chris Ryan attended the briefing, which focused on strategies to increase physical activity and improve health through everyday activities (see Figure 1 below).
The presenters unveiled “Active People, Healthy Nation,” an initiative to help increase the physical activity of over 27 million Americans by 2027. The initiative also calls for youths to have more opportunities to play sports in order to lead healthier lives and prevent healthcare expenditures, helping lower the overall costs of healthcare.
The initiative’s goals call for 15 million adults to move from inactive (no aerobic activity) to moderate-intensity activity every day, 10 million adults to meet the federal government’s minimum physical activity guidelines, and for two million young people to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.
Presenters leading the briefing included:
- VADM Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H., Surgeon General of the United States
- Ruth Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., director, division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Melicia C. Whitt-Glover, Ph.D., FACSM, president and CEO, Gramercy Research Group; member, 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee
- Mayor Jay McGowan, Cle Elum, Washington
- Emily Holubowich, M.P.P., vice president, federal advocacy, American Heart Association
The presenters expressed urgency about the country’s state of physical health, stating that seven out of 10 people cannot pass a physical fitness test, and explaining that this can put the country’s safety and security at risk. They recognized a distinct difference between those who are active and those who are not; disparities are largely tied to people of color, with non-Hispanic Black people being the number one victims in the southern part of the U.S. ( See figure 2 below).
Dr. Adams also provided simple everyday steps Americans can take to have an active lifestyle, such as taking the stairs rather than the elevator; making two trips from the car while carrying groceries, rather than attempting to hold them all in one trip; not looking for the closest parking spot; and getting off the metro or bus stop before their final destination. The consensus was that Americans can benefit deeply by implementing simple lifestyle changes in our everyday lives.
Dr. Adams ended his speech with a “take-a-stand” approach, committing to begin practicing the initiative then and there. He and his former military partner performed 20 push-ups in front of the audience, which was truly inspiring. Independent Sector thanks these organizations for holding this briefing on the nation’s health. We encourage all Americans to commit to incorporating strategies that suit their lifestyles, and are eager to see this initiative take off to help residents of communities across the country live better and healthier lives.