Park, Recreation, Fitness, and Sport Sector Recommendations for a More Physically Active America: A White Paper for the United States National Physical Activity Plan

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The United States’ first National Physical Activity Plan is now under development. This plan follows the release of new physical activity guidelines and seeks to address the nation’s ongoing physical inactivity and obesity crisis. For this plan to be successful, all facets of American culture need to unify behind its recommendations and action steps. Guidance for this plan involves active participation from a variety of sectors, including the park, recreation, fitness, and sport (PRFS) sector.


In this white paper, we discuss the potential of the PRFS sector in addressing America’s physical inactivity. Specifically, we provide a brief description, history, and scope of the PRFS sector; present evidence concerning linkages between this sector and physical activity; and discuss existing challenges and emerging opportunities for promoting physical activity. We conclude by suggesting PRFS recommendations to promote physical activity based on anticipated effectiveness, reach, scope, and sustainability.


Academic articles, professional reports, and physical activity plans were reviewed to summarize the evidence concerning PRFS sector strategies for increasing physical activity. Recommendations: Based on our review, we propose several sector-specific proximity, place, program, partnership, promotion, people, policy, and performance indicator recommendations for improving physical activity in the United States.

Mowen is with the Dept of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. Baker is with the Dept of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.

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