NRPA Joins Forces with US Department of Health and Human Services to Improve Our Nation's Health

Article excerpt

Even though more than 300,000 people die each year in the United States from conditions related to an inactive lifestyle, many Americans still find it hard to get moving and to be even moderately active for the recommended 30 minutes a day for adults and 60 minutes for children. On February 26, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) joined forces with the National Recreation and Parks Association to get Americans moving for health.

"We've done the studies, and we have the numbers," said Dr. Eve Slater, Assistant Secretary for Health, whose office established the federal government's health goals and objectives for the next decade (Healthy People 2010). "Physical activity tops the list of the leading health indicators we've identified. We know a sedentary lifestyle contributes to serious chronic health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and overweight and obesity. And we know we need to get Americans moving for health. But the federal government can't do it alone."

The partnership commits Dr. Slater and other agencies within the Department to meet quarterly with NRPA leaders and staff over the next year to discuss programs, products and services aimed at increasing physical activity and reducing overweight/obesity nationwide. NRPA President Marvin Billups, CPRP, represented NRPA at the signing the Memorandum of Understanding that establishes this partnership. Other signatories within the Department of Health and Human Services are Dr. Woodie Kessel, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health (Disease Prevention and Health Promotion); Lisa Oliphant, executive director of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS); Dr. Claude Lenfant, director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (National Institutes of Health)(NIH); Dr. Allen Spiegel, director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH); and Mr. Donald Shriber, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Washington Office.

The broad constituency of NRPA places the organization in a unique position to promote the objectives of Healthy People 2010. "Our unique blend of grassroots support, from local government agencies to nonprofit advocacy foundations, from state and national parks to private citizens, educators, and recreation professionals, has made a resounding impact on the health and fitness of all Americans," said Marvin Billups, NPRA President. …