Suzanna Beltz by Suzanna Beltz
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Today, nearly 80 percent of American adults fail to meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines; more than one-third of American adults have obesity; and nearly one-fifth of American children have obesity. But inactivity and obesity do not affect the health of all communities and demographics equally. Health disparities due to inactivity and obesity vary among cultures, ethnicities, geography, age, ability/disability, and gender, among other descriptors. And the disparities are often a result of environments, systems, and policies that have developed over several decades. Not only does this make the physical inactivity epidemic one of the greatest public health threats we’ve ever faced; but it’s also made it the most complicated to address.

So what’s needed?

We believe the greatest impact will come from well-qualified health and fitness professionals with diverse backgrounds working across the country to provide and promote physical activity opportunities for ALL walks of life.

Although ACE’s 65,000+ certified professionals represent a significant cross section of the American population, our mission compels us to reach deeper into communities with the greatest need and develop professionals who will address health disparities where people live, work, learn, play and pray.

That’s why the ACE Scholarship Program was created—to empower health and fitness pioneers to reach beyond the four walls of the gym and into homes, offices and public spaces to meet people where they are and get them moving. Scholarships are awarded to individuals and organizations targeting diverse audiences—from children to the military to seniors—that are passionate about creating stronger, healthier and more vibrant communities.

To date, ACE has established the following Scholarship Programs:

  • Community Empowerment Scholarship: grants deserving organizations working in low resource communities with scholarships to develop volunteers as community fitness leaders.
  • Salute You Scholarship: provides honorably discharged veterans with opportunities to pursue careers in health and fitness as ACE Certified Personal Trainers.
  • Ash Hayes Scholarship: recognizes individuals providing physical activity opportunities and health education to our nation’s youth.
  • Joe Bryant Scholarship: honors health and fitness champions working to reduce health disparities to improve the well-being of their communities.

What are you doing to impact the health of your community? Whether you’re working with local policymakers to create more walkable communities, leading low-cost or no-cost group fitness classes at the park or taking action in another innovative way, we want to hear from you! Email us at advocacy@acefitness.org.