While a majority of the conversation around getting people moving has been focused on obesity, there has been a surge of interest lately in a separate but related issue—physical inactivity. Obesity is, of course, one consequence of a sedentary lifestyle. But all of this inactivity also increases the risk of developing other chronic diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. The growing trend of individuals living a highly sedentary life has consumed our country to the point of becoming its own epidemic. While obesity and inactivity are undoubtedly intertwined, they each require a unique set of solutions and policies.
For the first time since 2014, ACE has developed a new key policy position statement—The Inactivity Epidemic. Why did ACE decide to add another key issue to its advocacy efforts? Because we’re committed to monitoring and addressing current health trends, research and policies to ensure we’re focusing on the most current issues impacting the health and fitness industries.
ACE developed the Advocacy Center in 2014 to raise awareness about what we believed to be the biggest challenges in the health and fitness industry. At the time, four key policy issues were prioritized as the primary focus of our advocacy efforts: Activity in Communities, The Healthcare System, Employee Wellness and The Obesity Epidemic. These issues are all still critically relevant today, but it’s also become apparent that there is a dire need to address physical inactivity.
Evidence has shown that physical inactivity is now one of the 10 leading risk factors for death worldwide. This is an alarming statistic and a major reason why we believe this epidemic should be brought to the forefront of public consciousness. It is critical that we draw awareness to the consequences of sedentary behaviors so professionals, individuals, families and communities can take steps to facilitate a cultural shift that makes physical activity an integral part of our country once again.
So, what does this mean for exercise professionals and health coaches? Now, more than ever, there is a need for qualified individuals to lead the way in getting more people active. This effort can have many faces, including creating affordable solutions for people to engage in physical activity; transforming and utilizing the built environment; developing programs that are inclusive of all fitness levels, ages and abilities; or advocating for policies that would make all of these initiatives easily accessible to your community.
Find out more about the inactivity epidemic and our other key policy issues at the ACE Advocacy Center, and to stay up-to-date on the latest ACE advocacy news sign-up for our monthly e-newsletter, Exercise Your Voice.
 World Health Organization (2016). Physical Activity. Retrieved from who.int.