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Shape of the Shape Up



When a coalition of groups unveiled the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) in May 2010, officials said their goal was to get Americans moving where they work, live and play through a slew of comprehensive policies, programs and initiatives.
A year later, the dozens of organizations involved in the effort are beginning to identify ways that they can actually accomplish that goal. National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity Executive Director Sheila Franklin tells The Inside Track that the biggest accomplishment of the past year perhaps is just getting everybody on the same page.
“It’s not a bunch of rocket science, brand-new kind of things,” says Franklin, who oversees the plan’s implementation. “What the plan does is kind of bring it together under an umbrella.”
The NPAP was launched with the goal of creating an American culture that supports active lifestyles, a key part of bringing down obesity rates among both children and adults. It’s divided into eight societal sectors, including education, business, healthcare and transportation, which are headed by two or three organizations and often advised by several more groups. Each individual sector has its own strategy for getting Americans active, Franklin says.
It’s important to note that local, state and national groups are coordinating their activity efforts, creating policies and sharing resources designed to creative positive change. It’s not just a government effort, either; non-governmental and even corporate organizations are all taking part.
Among the sectors, Education has been especially productive in the first year of the plan’s implementation, Franklin points out. The sector’s accomplishments include developing a model policy to require physical activity programs in schools and create mechanisms for monitoring their implementation, for example. The sector also worked to promote physical activity in early childhood education settings and before and after school and during the summer, among other accomplishments.
Franklin admits not all groups were as successful. The Public Health sector struggled because it has been through several sector leader changes, for example. “Not really any fault of theirs. Just the nature of the beast,” Franklin says.
But overall, Franklin says things are going smoothly, noting that NPAP officials should release the plan’s federal policy priorities “very shortly.”
“There have been a lot of successes,” she says. Click here for more information on the National Physical Activity Plan.