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Getting People to Move More

from The New York Times

In 2010, a group of public and private organizations banded together to develop and release the first National Physical Activity Plan, a blueprint for getting Americans to move more.

Among its recommendations were that every schoolchild be allowed and encouraged to participate in frequent — and preferably daily — physical education classes; that employers find ways to reduce sitting time at the office; and that municipalities both create and promote parklands, bike paths and other places for people to be active.

But since the release of the plan, by an alliance that includes the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health and Human Services, physical activity levels in the United States have barely budged, and for many people, they have declined. According to a recent report, only eight states require recess every day for elementary school students and only Oregon and the District of Columbia mandate that all children in elementary and middle school participate in at least 30 minutes of physical education every day, the minimum desirable level of daily P.E. that experts recommend.

Meanwhile, according to the C.D.C., barely 20 percent of American adults meet the minimum national exercise guidelines of at least 150 minutes per week of mixed aerobic workouts and strength training. The percentages are even lower for many minority groups, including Hispanic adults. Only about 15 percent of them manage to meet the exercise recommendations. more

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