ACE is an active partner in the Physical Activity Alliance (PAA) which works alongside other leading health advocacy organizations in the United States to lead efforts to create, support, and advocate policy and system changes that enable all Americans to enjoy physically active lives. By working together, the PAA advocates for specific policies to help make the active choice the easy choice.
PAA recently shared a letter with President-elect Joe Biden which outlines why it is more important than ever to include physical activity promotion and physical fitness for all Americans as a top priority for the incoming presidential administration. You can read the full letter here.
There are four main components of the PAA letter that will be of interest to ACE’s primary stakeholders, our ACE certified exercise professionals and health coaches, that we would like to highlight:
- Physical activity has many benefits to physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Regular physical activity promotes overall health and is important for disease treatment and prevention. Certified exercise professionals and health coaches can and do play a key role in providing the leadership and expertise to help people adopt healthy behavior changes to make physical activity a part of their daily lives.
- Disparities exist in physical activity access and need to be addressed. Factors such as race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status contribute to inequities in physical activity access, including access to recreational spaces and physical activity-related programs. ACE’s family of over 90,000 exercise professionals and health coaches are uniquely positioned to provide the programs and leadership necessary to improve access and availability in communities across the nation.
- Physical activity assessment needs to be part of the health care system. Physical activity is an essential part of disease prevention, management and treatment, and health care providers could better support their patients with physical activity assessments. Healthcare providers and health systems should also be encouraged to “prescribe” exercise and be able to refer patients to trusted, credentialed exercise professionals and health coaches that work in the intersection of clinic and community. This model could exponentially increase access for all Americans to safe, structured physical activity opportunities.
- Physical activity metrics should be included into public health surveillance. Measurement of physical activity has been hodge-podge at best in public health surveillance systems. ACE and PAA believe that because of physical activity’s benefits to overall population health, the United States should incorporate physical activity metrics into any upgrade of public health infrastructure including surveillance (tracking) and data modernization efforts. Exercise professionals and health coaches could play a key role in contributing much needed data once proper data infrastructure exists.