We Are "Designed to Move"

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November 9, 2012
By Jim Sallis
We Are "Designed to Move"

We have the evidence that physical activity is essential for good health. Mountains of it. We have guidelines about minimal amounts of physical activity required to maintain health at all ages. We have the Lancet series of articles that concluded at least 1/3 of adults worldwide are not meeting guidelines, and inactivity is responsible for over 5 million deaths worldwide every year. We have many effective intervention strategies to promote activity. We have national physical activity plans for the US and many other countries that can guide actions in multiple sectors to increase physical activity. What we do not have is concerted action to help people become more active. What we do not have is effective communication to galvanize people to take action. The physical activity field does not have people's attention.

But that may be changing. I want to welcome an important new player to the global effort to get people, particularly children, more active. Nike is a well-known brand of sportswear, and until recently they operated mainly in the sports world. The release of the report "Designed to Move" announces Nike's commitment to be a major player in the active living movement. Physical activity needs collaborators like Nike who are outstanding communicators and have access to mass audiences and powerful leaders worldwide. By collaborating with credible physical activity organizations, such as the American College of Sports Medicine, Nike is helping to develop a strategy that is largely consistent with evidence. That is why Active Living Research (ALR) is pleased to endorse the report.

Please check out the report that was released in late September 2012: www.designedtomove.org. The rationale for the report is that levels of physical activity are declining in most countries, including the world's largest populations. It is especially important to support children to be active so they don't develop sedentary habits throughout life and suffer the health consequences.

There are two solutions or "asks" in the report. One is "designing for positive early experiences" by ensuring children's activity programs are both physically active and positive. Seven recommendations or "design filters" for programs are promoted. The second is "designing for a physically active built environment." This topic is very familiar to ALR audiences. The report contains a compelling vision of healthy built environments that is based on research. The main settings are parks/open spaces, urban design/land use, transportation, schools, and buildings/workplaces. This is a welcome translation of research that appeals to just about everyone.

Designed to Move is a new tool for the active living movement. In this report you’ll find compelling data, figures, and graphics that help to convey the message of why it is so very important to change the trajectory of physical inactivity. I encourage you to share the link widely.

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