National Physical Activity Plan Is off and Running: Parks and Recreation to Help Lead National Coalition Fight for Fitness and Health

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Leaders of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) have joined a broad coalition of experts to support the National Physical Activity Plan, a sweeping initiative to improve public health. The plan outlines strategies for motivating people in every community to become and stay physically active and to remove the barriers that may stand in their way.

The plan calls for policy, environmental, and cultural changes to help all Americans enjoy the health benefits of physical activity. The vision is that all Americans are physically active and live, work and play in environments that facilitate regular physical activity. Supported by a wide range of public policy recommendations, the Plan is the product of a 10-month, public/private collaboration of experts in diverse fields.

NRPA seeks to engage Americans in healthy, active lifestyles through physical activity, healthy habits, recreation, and an appreciation for and connection to the outdoors. NRPA co-chaired the Parks, Recreation, Fitness and Sports section of the National Physical Activity Plan, and worked in collaboration with other national organizations for its drafting. In addition, NRPA is a member of the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA), which has been charged with leading the implementation of the plan.

"Implementing the policy changes recommended by the plan will help make the choice to be physically active the easy choice," said Barry Ford, the NCPPA president. "The plan will inspire and guide the decisions of policymakers at every level and in every field, so that being physically active becomes second nature for most Americans."

NRPA is co-leading Strategy Four of the plan, which aims to "Increase funding and resources for parks, recreation, fitness and sports in areas of high need."

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"Parks and recreation centers are essential to providing safe, close-to-home opportunities for Americans to stay physically active and lead healthy lifestyles," said Barbara Tulipane, CEO of NRPA. "With the launch of the National Physical Activity Plan, our communities can harness our collective power and provide both increased space and opportunities for physical activity and recreation. This will move our nation closer to both the Administration's and NRPA's goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation and combating chronic disease in adults. …