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APTA's commitment to nurturing a healthy society includes instilling a positive relationship with movement and exercise at an early age, regardless of ability. That dedication has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has named APTA as a National Youth Sports Strategy Champion.

The National Youth Sports Strategy is a program within HHS' Nutrition and Physical Activity National Health Initiative that focuses on providing key decision-makers with insight on the importance of making sports available and accessible to youth across the country. Its vision — "one day, all youth will have the opportunity, motivation, and access to play sports" — is squarely in line with APTA's vision, strategic plan, and public policy priorities.

The program regularly updates a strategy guide that lays out its plan and the metrics that will be used to gauge success. In addition, it sponsors a range of youth sports programs that partner with the Washington Nationals, Ohio State University, Girls on the Run, YMCA of the USA, and Special Olympics. Also available on the program website: fact sheets for parents, downloadable posters promoting involvement in youth sports, and videos.

APTA joins more than 200 national and regional National Youth Sports Strategy Champions, including the American College of Sports Medicine, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the National Athletic Trainers' Association, the Physical Activity Alliance, Special Olympics, the Women's Sports Foundation, and YMCA. This is the association's third population health-focused recognition in 2023: Earlier in the year, APTA was named an HHS Healthy People 2030 Champion and an affiliate in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Total Worker Health Program.

And talk about timing: The recognition was announced in May, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

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