On February 23-24, 2015, over 250 professionals in public health, education, government, and media attended the 2015 National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) Congress in Washington, D.C. The Congress opened with a keynote lecture by Dr. Wanda Jones, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in which she emphasized the importance of partnerships in promoting physical activity. A second keynote, delivered by Mark Fenton, made the case for a focus on environment and policy changes that support physical activity as part of daily life.
One major goal of the Congress was to highlight important developments and opportunities in physical activity and public health. Ten thematic panel sessions focused on promoting physical activity through a variety of mechanisms including federal initiatives, public-private partnerships, healthcare innovations, and state and local strategies. Other sessions stressed the importance of reducing disparities in promoting physical activity and the causes of energy imbalance and its effect on public health.
A second goal of the Congress was to engage participants in reviewing and proposing revisions to the National Physical Activity Plan. This was achieved through two open mike Town Hall sessions in which chairs of eight sector expert panels presented suggested updates to his or her respective sector that reflect the most current state of science, policy, and practice. Following the chairs’ presentations, Congress participants were invited to provide comments and feedback. Participants were then offered the opportunity to attend a sector breakout session for a more in-depth discussion.
A high point of the NPAP Congress was the awards ceremony, emceed by Dr. Pamela Peeke. The awards ceremony acknowledged NPAP Champions, individuals and organizations that have made a significant commitment to adopting NPAP strategies and have shown progress toward improving physical activity in their target audiences. Three organizations were named as the first NPAP Champions – Space to Grow, Chicago, IL; Get Fit Kauai, Kauai County, HI; and Seguin ISD Student Health Advisory Council, Seguin, TX. The National Physical Activity Alliance also recognized Dr. Kenneth E. Powell, a pioneer in the field of physical activity and public health, with its first-ever Honor Award for lifetime achievement. The awards ceremony concluded with Dr. Steven Blair being presented with the President’s Council Lifetime Achievement Award.
Following the Congress, sector panels will continue to work on refining the NPAP with input received at the Congress. A near-final draft will be circulated for public comment in mid-2015, with a release of the updated NPAP anticipated in late 2015. The National Physical Activity Alliance thanks its Organizational Partners, Congress participants, speakers, and sponsors for their contributions which led to the great success of the Congress.