Studies show that regular physical activity reduces the risk for depression, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, and certain kinds of cancer. Yet, the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee notes that data from various national surveillance programs consistently show most adults and youth in the U.S. do not meet current physical activity recommendations, e.g., 45% to 50% of adults and 35.8% of high school students say they get the recommended amounts of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
- Children and adolescents (age 6-17)
- Adults (age 18-64)
- Older adults (age 65 and older)
- People with disabilities
Community Guide Recommendations
Campaigns and informational approaches
Campaigns and informational approaches aim to:
- Change knowledge about physical activity benefits
- Increase awareness about ways to increase physical activity in the community
- Explain how to overcome barriers and negative attitudes about physical activity
- Increase participation in community-based activities
Community-wide campaigns to increase physical activity are interventions that:
- Involve many community sectors
- Include highly visible, broad-based, multicomponent strategies (e.g., social support, risk factor screening or health education)
- May also address other cardiovascular disease risk factors, particularly diet and smoking
Behavioral and social approaches
Behavioral and social approaches aim to increase physical activity by:
- Teaching behavior change skills
- Providing social support for people who are trying to begin or continue regular physical activity
These approaches often involve:
- Individual or group counseling
- The individual’s friends or family
Individually-adapted health behavior change programs
Individually-adapted health behavior change programs to increase physical activity teach behavioral skills to help participants incorporate physical activity into their daily routines. The programs are tailored to each individual’s specific interests, preferences, and readiness for change.
These programs teach behavioral skills such as:
- Goal-setting and self-monitoring of progress toward those goals
- Building social support for new behaviors
- Behavioral reinforcement through self-reward and positive self-talk
- Structured problem solving to maintain the behavior change
- Prevention of relapse into sedentary behavior
Social support interventions in community settings
These social support interventions focus on changing physical activity behavior through building, strengthening, and maintaining social networks that provide supportive relationships for behavior change (e.g., setting up a buddy system, making contracts with others to complete specified levels of physical activity, or setting up walking groups or other groups to provide friendship and support).
Enhanced school-based physical education
This review evaluated the effectiveness of enhancing physical education (PE) curricula by making classes longer or having students be more active during class in order to increase the amount of time students spend doing moderate or vigorous activity in PE class.
Environmental and policy approaches
Environmental and policy approaches are designed to provide opportunities, support, and cues to help people be more physically active. They may involve:
- The physical environment
- Social networks
- Organizational norms and policies
- Public health professionals, community organizations, legislators, departments of parks, recreation, transportation, and planning, and the media
Community-scale urban design and land use policies
Community-scale urban design land use policies and practices involve the efforts of urban planners, architects, engineers, developers, and public health professionals to change the physical environment of urban areas of several square miles or more in ways that support physical activity. They include the following.
- Design elements that address:
- Proximity of residential areas to stores, jobs, schools, and recreation areas
- Continuity and connectivity of sidewalks and streets
- Aesthetic and safety aspects of the physical environment
- Policy instruments such as zoning regulations, building codes, other governmental policies, and builders’ practices
Creation of or enhance access to places for physical activity combined with informational outreach activities
Creation of or enhancing access to places for physical activity involves the efforts of worksites, coalitions, agencies, and communities as they attempt to change the local environment to create opportunities for physical activity. Such changes include creating walking trails, building exercise facilities, or providing access to existing nearby facilities.
These multicomponent programs were evaluated as a “combined package” because it was not possible to separate out the effects of each individual component.
Street-scale urban design and land use policies
Street-scale urban design and land use policies involve the efforts of urban planners, architects, engineers, developers, and public health professionals to change the physical environment of small geographic areas, generally limited to a few blocks, in ways that support physical activity.
- Policy instruments employed include:
- Building codes
- Roadway design standards
- Environmental changes
- Design components include:
- Improved street lighting
- Infrastructure projects to increase safety of street crossing
- Use of traffic calming approaches (e.g., speed humps, traffic circles)
- Enhancing street landscaping
Point-of-decision prompts to encourage use of stairs
Point-of-decision prompts are motivational signs placed in or near stairwells or at the base of elevators and escalators to encourage individuals to increase stair use. These signs:
- Inform people about health or weight loss benefits from taking the stairs, and/or
- Remind people already predisposed to becoming more active, for health or other reasons, about an opportunity at hand to do so
Interventions evaluated in this category involved prompts used alone or in combination with stairwell enhancements (e.g., music in stairwells) to increase stair use.
Thrive SEK is launching this blog to keep you informed about health-related news and activities in our region. At the bottom of most pages on this website, you will see the blog entries that are relevant to the topics on that page. The goal of Thrive Southeast Kansas is to encourage healthy lifestyles in our area. This website blog is just one tool that we will use to accomplish that goal. We are in the process of adding new information and features to the website, so check back regularly for updates. If you have suggestions for information to feature on this website, please e-mail us at email@example.com. Thank you for visiting.