Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine
Spring/Summer 2015 Return to Outlook main page »

Physical Activity SIG Interviews Russ Pate about U.S. National Physical Activity Plan

The Society of Behavioral Medicine's (SBM) Physical Activity SIG completed an interview with Russ Pate, PhD, a national and international leader in physical activity promotion. Read his discussion, below, of the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan.

PA SIG: We understand that you were instrumental in the development of the National Physical Activity Plan and are currently president of the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance. Can you tell us more about those initiatives?

Pate: The first U.S. National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) was the result of a series of efforts between 2007-10, supported by a coalition of national organizational partners who were leaders in physical activity and public health. These organizational partners formed a Coordinating Committee. That committee received input from eight Sector Working Groups comprised of over 300 individuals who developed and refined the content of the NPAP. The plan was released in May 2010.

PA SIG: Can you give us an overview of the NPAP?

Pate: The plan is organized around eight societal sectors:

  • business and industry;
  • education;
  • health care;
  • mass media;
  • parks, recreation, fitness, and sports;
  • public health;
  • transportation, land use, and community design; and
  • volunteer and nonprofit.

Within these eight sectors, recommended strategies aimed at promoting physical activity are outlined. The strategies are each associated with concrete, evidence-based tactics that can be implemented by communities, organizations, agencies, and individuals to promote physical activity in target groups.

PA SIG: Can you give us an example of one of the strategies and tactics?

Pate: An example from the health care sector is the following strategy: "Make physical activity a patient vital sign that all health care providers assess and discuss with their patients." A specific tactic associated with that strategy is: "Develop a Healthcare Effectiveness and Data Information Set (HEDIS) measure for physical activity."

PA SIG: Is there a formal evaluation of the plan?

Pate: An evaluation of the plan is an essential component, identified by the NPAP Board of Directors. In 2011, an evaluation was undertaken to examine the awareness, adoption, and implementation of the plan. Our website has some great information about this evaluation and the hard work of those involved.

PA SIG: What happened after the plan was released in 2010?

Pate: After the plan was released in 2010, the organizing committee decided it was important to have a sustainable approach for expanding the impact of the plan, and for advocating for its recommendations. Thus, a 501c3 nonprofit organization was formed, and it is called the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA).

PA SIG: Tell us about your most recent meeting and ways to provide input?

Pate: In February 2015, we held the National Physical Activity Plan Congress in Washington, DC, to highlight accomplishments and obtain input to review and revise the plan. Stay tuned for a near-final draft of a revised NPAP to be circulated for public comment in mid-2015.

PA SIG: How might SBM members become more involved?

Pate: Having a National Strategic Plan that is well thought out is an important step for public health. The goal is now to promote and expand upon that plan. As mentioned above, the plan has well thought out evidence-based strategies in each of the sectors. These strategies can be examined and implemented by SBM members as they work with individuals and communities on physical activity promotion.

PA SIG: If an SBM member wanted to learn more or interact with the state liaisons, how might that happen?

Pate: SBM members who are interested in learning more about and/or becoming actively involved with the NPAPA are encouraged to consult the organization's website: www.physicalactivityplan.org. The plan is intended to be a resource for all who seek to take actions aimed at increasing physical activity levels of the U.S. population. The plan targets decision makers at every level, from elementary school principals and employer human resource directors to members of the U.S. Congress.