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ACE Commends U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services' Educational Campaign Aimed at Reversing Obesity and Inactivity Trend

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – March 17, 2004 – The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s nonprofit fitness advocate, today applauds the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Tommy G. Thompson, for his renewed commitment to fight the growing trend of obesity and overweight in the U.S., announcing a new national education campaign and a new research strategy at HHS' National Institutes of Health (NIH).

A new study released by HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that deaths due to poor diet and physical inactivity rose by 33 percent over the past decade and may soon overtake tobacco as the leading preventable cause of death.

HHS' release of its new education campaign with the Ad Council and NIH research agenda coincided with publication of the CDC study in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, "Actual Causes of Death in the United States, 2000," finds that 400,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2000 (17 percent of all deaths) were related to poor diet and physical inactivity. Only tobacco use caused more deaths (435,000). And while most of the major preventable causes of death showed declines or little change since 1990, deaths due to poor diet and physical inactivity increased 33 percent. "Poor diet and physical inactivity may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death," the study concludes. The article is available at

Secretary Thompson unveiled an innovative public awareness and education campaign, entitled Healthy Lifestyles & Disease Prevention that encourages American families to take small, manageable steps within their current lifestyle -- versus drastic changes -- to ensure effective, long-term weight control. The initiative includes multi-media public service advertisements (PSAs) and a new interactive Web site -- The PSAs, available at, will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media. In addition, NIH is developing a Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research. The draft strategic plan, available at, is open for public comment until April 2.

“With as little as 30 - 60 minutes of exercise a day, we all can maintain health and reduce our risk of suffering from a wide variety of chronic medical conditions,” said Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. “Consumers need to hear this message as often and as consistently as possible in light of the growing epidemic of obesity and diabetes among adults and children.”

The ACE 2004 Public Service Campaign that addresses the important issues of obesity in children, the need for moderate physical activity to prolong life, and the dangers of training with an uncertified fitness instructor is very consistent with and supports Secretary Thompson’s mandate to educate and motivate Americans to lead active, healthy lifestyles.

To view the ACE 2004 PSA campaign including print, web banners and radio go to

There are few limitations on what types of activities individuals can do at a moderate intensity. Brisk walking is the most popular choice since it can easily be incorporated into a busy day, has low injury rates, does not require special skills or equipment, and can be done by virtually anyone at any age. The bottom line is that individuals should choose activities they enjoy and can easily incorporate into their daily routines.

About ACE
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s Authority on Fitness, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s “workout watchdog,” ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at

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About ACE

Founded in 1985, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization committed to America's health and wellbeing. Over the past 30 years, we have become an established resource for health and fitness professionals, and the public, providing comprehensive, unbiased research and validating ourselves as the country's trusted authority on health and fitness.

Today, ACE is the largest nonprofit health and fitness certification, education and training organization in the world with more than 65,000 certified professionals who hold more than 72,000 ACE Certifications. With a long heritage in certification, education, training and public outreach, we are among the most respected organizations in the industry and a resource the public has come to trust for health and fitness education.