New physical activity guidelines being promoted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services references research by two WVU Public Health professors.

Earlier this week, the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion launched the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The second edition of the guidelines is based on the latest scientific evidence that shows that physical activity conveys even more health benefits than previously known.

A report supplied by the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report provides a detailed summary of the disease prevention and health promotion benefits of a more physically active America that is firmly established by the latest scientific evidence. The extensive scientific review includes references to research by George Kelley and Kim Innes, WVU School of Public Health professors in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, respectively.

“The scientific report is particularly informative, providing a critical synthesis of the evidence base to date for a wide array of populations, clinical conditions and health outcomes,” Innes said. “It highlights important gaps and inconsistencies and details recommendations for future research.”

“The new guidelines – which include much of our own meta-analytic research on physical activity and selected health outcomes for children, adolescents and adults – also provide new and critical information on proven evidence-based strategies for increasing the physical activity levels of all Americans,” Kelley said. “Importantly, this updated work provides further evidence that exercise is the best ‘poly-pill’ available for many of the health conditions that plague our nation.”  

Innes agrees.

“The guidelines reflect the now extensive body of scientific literature supporting the multiple health benefits of physical activity, including both conventional exercise and mind-body practices such as yoga and tai chi, for individuals of all ages,” she said.

New aspects of the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines include discussions of:

  • Additional health benefits related to brain health, additional cancer sites, and fall-related injuries;
  • Immediate and longer term benefits for how people feel, function, and sleep;
  • Further benefits among older adults and people with additional chronic conditions;
  • Risks of sedentary behavior and their relationship with physical activity;
  • Guidance for preschool children (ages 3 through 5 years);
  • Elimination of the requirement for physical activity of adults to occur in bouts of at least 10 minutes; and
  • Tested strategies that can be used to get the population more active.

In addition to the guidelines, the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion created the Move Your Way campaign to help health professionals, national organizations, communities, and other stakeholders communicate with consumers about the recommendations from the Guidelines.