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Policymakers, Experts, Public Agree: Physical Activity Plan Needed
Date:7/1/2009

Strategy will help prevent disease, lower health care costs

INDIANAPOLIS, July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dozens of the nation's leading organizations in health care, science, medicine and public health are meeting in Washington, D.C., this week with one goal in mind: to develop a national physical activity plan that will make America healthier. Congressional leaders and members of the public both agree that emphasizing disease prevention measures, such as increasing physical activity, is essential to combating chronic diseases, which account for 70 percent of all deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The preventive power of physical activity has been noted by lawmakers. During mark-up of the Affordable Health Choices Act in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) said: "The one overarching goal of health care reform is to recreate America as a genuine wellness society - one that emphasizes wellness, fitness, good nutrition, and disease prevention. Consider this: Right now, some 75 percent of health care costs are accounted for by heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and obesity. What these five diseases and conditions have in common is that they are largely preventable and even reversible by changes in nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle."

Reflecting a growing consensus on the subject, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said during the 2008 Presidential campaign, "Parents should provide their children with healthier meals and make exercise a family activity; schools must provide children with nutrition education and should offer more opportunities for physical education; and health-care providers should use yearly checkups as an opportunity to guide their patients through diet and fitness goals."

The plan will focus on eight key sectors that have heavy influence on physical activ
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SOURCE American College of Sports Medicine
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