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  • Revised Physical Activity Plan Presents Opportunities for PTs, PTAs

    APTA members familiar with the association's vision to transform society may feel like the vision for the newly revised National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) has a familiar ring to it. "One day, all Americans will be physically active," it says, "and they will live, work, and play in environments that encourage and support regular physical activity."

    Sounds downright … transformative, doesn’t it?

    The NPAP Alliance has released a long-awaited revision of its namesake document, a comprehensive and high-profile roadmap for supporting and encouraging physical activity among all Americans. The new version is informed by recent evidence-based findings, shaped by comments from stakeholders—including many physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and students in physical therapy education programs—and developed and finalized by a coalition of organizations including APTA.

    The newest version of the NPAP continues its emphasis on a socio-ecological model of health behavior by stressing the importance of change at the personal, family, institutional, community, and policy levels. According to a news release from the Alliance, the NPAP's overall goals are also consistent with recent policy initiatives in other areas, including the 2015 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, and the US Surgeon General's "Step it Up" campaign to encourage walking.

    Former APTA Board of Directors member Dianne V. Jewell, PT, DPT, PhD, FAACVPR, represents APTA on the NPAP Alliance, and believes the plan offers PTs and PTAs an important opportunity to live out the profession's transformative role by taking the lead in community-based prevention and wellness efforts.

    "Making this plan operational will involve integrating physical activity counseling, promotion, and prescription within PTs' plans of care," Jewell said. "It's a commitment that is very consistent with our expanding roles in primary and secondary prevention and population health."

    Additionally, Jewell believes that the NPAP could help to highlight the ways in which PTs could be leaders not just within communities, but among other health care providers.

    "The NPAP calls for a more comprehensive integration of physical activity principles in health care provider education and training," she said. "As movement system experts, PTs are role models and teachers of this content, and we should seek opportunities to share our expertise with colleagues from all disciplines."

    At its unveiling on April 20, the NPAP was praised by groups that include the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition; the American Heart Association; and the American College of Sports Medicine. Later in the afternoon, the plan was the focus of a briefing hosted by the Congressional Fitness Caucus and the Congressional Bicycle Caucus.

    Jewell hopes that PTs, PTAs, and students in physical therapy programs will see the connection between the NPAP and the profession.

    "The elements in the NPAP are right in our wheelhouse with respect to our expertise with the movement system," Jewell said. "We should take hold with both hands and step up to leadership, not only in our practice each day, but in advocacy, collaboration on community initiatives, and active engagement in the physical activity space."


    • Many PTs are already imbracing the idea of a more active life as we work to look more holistically beyond the diagnosis and support post discharge programs for wellness, fitness and weight loss. A part of our survival is to look past the normal model covered by insurance and develop more cash based programs in this arena.

      Posted by Roy Adams on 4/20/2016 6:13 PM

    • Physical therapists are the musculoskeletal experts. We should be front runners in taking responsibility in physical wellbeing, fitness and quality of life of our communities. Would like APTA offer guidance in step by step development, promotion and implementation of such community based programs. They are a win-win situation for both the physical therapists ( by not chasing the insurance companies for re-imbursement) and the community.

      Posted by Jaya Gurnani on 4/20/2016 8:13 PM

    • Love this article. It's motivated me to become more involved with community based initiatives in my local area. Thank you!

      Posted by Ethan on 4/22/2016 1:30 PM

    • Great Article! I have actually spoken with management about this opportunity prior to reading this article. This article has inspired me to chase this idea of continue training after therapy for wellness and continued quality of life for all patients desiring to further their wellness programs. Thanks for the post!

      Posted by Bruce Belland on 5/17/2016 10:35 AM

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