Elevating Physical Activity as a Public Health Priority: Creation of the National Society of Physical Activity Practitioners in Public Health

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Physical activity has emerged as a distinct area of public health practice. As this field evolved, the need for a professional organization for physical activity practitioners in public health became evident. A collaboration of several existing public health professional organizations formed to address this new area of public health practice. The collaboration laid the foundation to establish a professional organization. National Association of Physical Activity Practitioners in Public Health (NSPAPPH) was launched in April 2006. NSPAPPH accomplishments to date include convening a national meeting of physical activity practitioners, conducting strategic planning, adopting bylaws and core competencies for professional practice, developing a website and electronic newsletter, and establishing training opportunities for practitioners.

Conclusions:

Future plans for NSPAPPH include development of a professional certification for physical activity practitioners in public health; enhancement of training and professional development opportunities; recruitment of members from national, tribal, state, and local organizations working in public and private sectors; publications of journal articles, reports, and issue briefs; and development of a policy agenda. Implementing these plans will serve to strengthen public health infrastructure for physical activity, thus improving the physical activity behaviors of Americans and the health of the nation.

Kimber is with the Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Unit, Minnesota Dept of Health, St. Paul, MN. Abercrombie is with the Arkansas Dept of Health, Benton, AR. Epping is with the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Mordecai is a consultant with the Directors of Health Promotion and Education, Madison, MS. Newkirk is with the Physical Activity and Nutrition Branch, North Carolina Division of Public Health, Raleigh, NC. Ray is with the Nebraska Dept of Health and Human Services, Lincoln, NE.