Issue 10- December 2015 |
December 17, 2015

Welcome to Issue 10 of the Activity Advocate, NCPPA's comprehensive e-newsletter on physical activity. The Activity Advocate includes policy updates, news updates, conference and event updates, organizational updates  and  research,  all focused on physical activity.
Physical Activity In the News
A Call to Action for Clinicians to Prescribe Physical Activity  Read

Will Tracking Really Make the US Healthier Than Ever Before?  Read

How Exercise May Help Us Fight Off Colds  Read

More Exercise at School May Be Key to Improving Teens' Health Read

Exercise As Young Adult Tied to Heart Health Decades Later Read

An 8th Grader Makes a Plea: Don't Get Rid of PE  Read

Exercise To Patients, Make Physical Activity A Vital Sign

Binge Watching as a Young Adult Linked to Cognitive Impairment: Study Read

Hotels Get Creative With Fitness Offerings for Next-Gen Travelers Read

Dangers Of Being A Couch Potato: Watching TV Without Physical Activity Leads To Poor Brain Function Later In Life Read

Why Kids Take Physical Fitness Tests at School Read

Advocating for Physical Activity: Why America's Health Depends On It  Read
Upcoming Events
* Livable Communities for All Ages Everybody Walks Webinar, January 14, 2pm EST More Info

* The 2016 Active Living Research  Conference  
Equity in Active Living ,   January 31- February 3, 2016 Clearwater Beach, FL More Info

*SFIA's 2016 National Health Through Fitness Day 
March 15-16, 2016 Washington, DC More Info

* IHRSA 2016/35th Annual International Convention & Trade Show    March 21-24, 2016  Orlando, FL More Info

* Building a Healthier Future Summit, The Partnership for A Healthier America  May 18-20, 2016
Washington, DC. More Info
The CEO Pledge
The CEO Pledge for Physical Activity is NCPPA's national campaign to encourage every CEO In the United States and beyond to recognize physical activity as an important driver of employee health and business performance.   Learn More
Become a Member!
We invite you to join us as we advocate for policies that encourage Americans of all ages to make physical activity a regular part of their day.
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Policy Update
Big Win for Physical Education - President Signs Bipartisan, "Every Student Succeeds Act"
Last week, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaces the long overdue No Child Left Behind Act. The bill passed the Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support and is a big win for physical education. 

First, the law designates physical education as a part of the well-rounded curriculum (replacing core subjects), which now makes physical education eligible for Title I funding - the largest pot of federal funding for schools.

Second, Title IV contains a new block grant program, under which physical education programs will have access to significant funding. While this means the official end of the PEP program, which was expected, physical education maintains a strong presence of eligibility through the block grant. 

It is important to note that in the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations for 2016, the Carol M White Physical Education Program (PEP) received $47,000,000, which will help fund the remaining grants and serve as a transition until the new education policy goes into effect in 2017.  Learn More
Transportation Reauthorized - Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) 
On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), or the transportation reauthorization bill. Funding for policies that provide access to sidewalks, bike paths, and Safe Routes to School was ultimately preserved - and even got a slight increase - in this five year bill. The programs now reside under the "STP Setaside" (formerly known as the Transportation Alternatives Program), and there were even some policy improvements to the programs as well.

Given that, at the beginning of this year, the House was determined to completely eliminate all of these important programs that help keep our communities active, achieving a slight bump in funding and incurring only modest policy changes is an amazing victory. 

Importantly, the five year bill largely preserves the programmatic elements of the current transportation bill, which means that state and local partners will experience  seamless continuity for the next five years as they continue to plan projects and apply for and administer these funds.  Learn More
Final Consensus Paper Presented In Response to EEOC Proposed Regulations 
On December 15, 2015, the final version of the Consensus paper was presented to the Commissioners of the  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), their staff, and the Senate HELP Committee staff. The paper was a response to the EEOC proposed regulations involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) as they relate to employer wellness programs that are part of group health plans.

The Commissioners, their staff, and the Senate HELP Committee staff were very grateful that we were willing to go through the consensus process and share our work with them. EEOC has a very difficult job reconciling the final rule and they really appreciated the consensus paper which is now officially part of the public record. Read here
PHIT Act Introduced in U.S. Senate for First Time
Several members of NCPPA are actively lobbying Congress to pass the Personal Health Investment Today Act (H.R. 1218/ S 2218) , commonly known as the PHIT Act. As reported, the legislation would expand the definition of a medical expense to include programs of physical activity and exercise equipment.  This change would effectively allow for gym memberships and most exercise equipment to be paid for out of tax deferred medical accounts such as health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs).

With the introduction of the Senate bill, the #PassThePHITAct Campaign has officially launched! Over the next several months, SFIA, PHIT America, and the PHIT Act Coalition partners will further ignite efforts on Capitol Hill to pass the PHIT Act with a national social media campaign which will increase the awareness of the PHIT Act at the grassroots level and generate a national call to action to get the PHIT Act passed. Learn More
Research, Reports, and Announcements
MyCollegeOptions® and SHAPE America Research Reveals Students' Perceptions About Physical Education Classes
New research conducted by myCollege Options® and SHAPE America offers unique and valuable insight into the attitudes of students themselves toward physical education. While other studies focus on the views of health organizations, educators and parents, students also have something to say: they value their physical education curriculum.  Learn More
The  American Heart Association  (AHA) and  National Football League  (NFL) have partnered with  Discovery Education , the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, to expand the AHA-NFL PLAY 60 Challenge to offer all-new, standards-aligned digital resources for students, educators and families across the country. Available at no cost, the  NFL PLAY 60 Challenge  is designed to inspire students grades 3-8 to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day and help more schools become places that encourage physically active lifestyles year-round. Learn More
Everybody Walk: Monthly Themes
This month's theme is Walk for You with lead partner National Physical Activity Society. The holiday season can lead to busy schedules, but we want to remind people to take time to walk, be physically active and stay healthy. Be sure to keep your eyes open for posted content (#walkforyou).

If you have not signed up for a monthly theme or would like to sign up for an additional theme, there is still space for  2016. Please contact Heidi Simon for more information.
The National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity is a diverse blend of associations, health organizations, and private corporations advocating for policies that encourage Americans of all ages to be physically active.
NCPPA Policy Agenda

We want this newsletter to be as useful and informative as possible - so please send us your feedback and suggestions regarding current content and future topics we should address. We look forward to hearing from you.


Ayanna McKnight