Physical activity has emerged as a critical indicator of our nation’s health. New energy focused on meeting the ever-increasing demands of the physical inactivity crisis has resulted in an emphasis on the policy issues that affect physical activity environments and lifestyle behaviors.
NCPPA Voices Opposition to Cuts to Physical Activity Programs
in President’s FY 2006 Budget Proposal
— Programs Vital to America’s Physical Health at Risk ––
Washington, D.C. – March 4, 2005 – In a letter to President Bush, the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA) expressed its strong opposition to proposed budget cuts in the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Proposal that would negatively affect physical activity programs designed to promote healthy lifestyles. In recent years the issue of overweight and obesity in America has reached epidemic proportions, with serious implications for the future health of America and the cost of future healthcare for individuals afflicted with obesity-related illness and disease. The proposed cuts outlined in the President’s Fiscal Year 2006 Budget could have grave implications for important programs that play a fundamental role in advancing America’s physical health.
“The programs currently slated to be cut or eliminated go a long way in helping to reduce the enormous health expenditures beset by diseases that could be prevented, in large part, by regular physical activity,” said Karen Silberman, NCPPA Executive Director. “NCPPA will continue to fight for all programs that will have a positive impact on Americans’ ability to be active. We urge the President and Congress to support these vital programs.”
Specifically, the President’s Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Proposal calls for cuts of $19 million to the Carol M. White Physical Education for Progress (PEP) Program. The PEP Program provides funds directly to schools for the purchase of sports/fitness equipment and for training/hiring of more Physical Education teachers. The program has been instrumental in reenergizing physical education in America’s schools and is key to fighting the childhood overweight and obesity epidemic.
The proposed budget also includes a $92.5 million cut in the nation’s primary federal funding source for local parks, fields and trails development — the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF provides money for parks, trails, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, basketball courts and playgrounds making them available and accessible to the general public. The proposal also stipulates the termination of the Department of Education RSA Sec. 316 grants. These grants support projects that provide recreation and related activities for individuals with disabilities to aid in their employment, mobility, independence, socializations, and community integration.
In addition, the President’s budget proposal includes a $12.5 million cut to the Preventative Health and Human Services Block Grant. The block grants are the primary source of funding to states to pay for any of the 265 national health objectives in Healthy People 2010. States use the funds to target such health issues as cardiovascular, disease cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases that can be positively impacted by engaging in regular physical activity.
Further, the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Proposal includes a $550 million cut to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While the nation’s top three causes of death are chronic diseases — heart disease, cancer and stroke, the budget cuts CDC’s chronic disease prevention and health promotion program by 6.5 percent, or $60 million. Savings are achieved chiefly by eliminating the proven-effective VERB program, which promotes physical activity to reduce childhood obesity and related disease.
Lastly, the budget proposal rescinds a significant portion of unobligated fiscal year 2005 funds from the Federal Highway Administration. Therefore, state transportation agencies will determine programs to be cut, potentially including transportation enhancements. The transportation enhancement program funds projects that encourage bicycling and walking. Elimination or reduction of the enhancement program would limit citizens’ ability to be active in his or her own neighborhoods.
“Americans are realizing that daily physical activity is a protective factor against disease and disability,” continued Silberman. “Americans are starting to demand that the government take action to ensure the presence of settings where they can be active. They are asking for safe routes to and from school for their children, increased physical education requirements for their children, barrier-free trails and parks in their communities, pathways to shopping centers, sidewalks, streets where they can bicycle safely, and other changes to the built environment,
“If we, as a country, are to halt the trend toward overweight and obesity, and if the federal government is serious about meeting the objectives of Healthy People 2010,” Silberman added, “then the President needs to rethink these budget cuts and consider the negative ramifications that they will have on the future of America’s health.”
NCPPA is a national organization dedicated to promoting policies and programs that encourage Americans to be physically active. The membership comprises of health, fitness and recreation organizations working collaboratively to promote physically active lifestyles, educate lawmakers and interested individuals on the benefits of physical activity, and influence federal, state, and local policy to encourage the building of sustainable, physically active environments.
Physical Activity for Youth Policy Initiative
Click Here to Download the P.A.Y. Policy Initiative in pdf format.
The Physical Activity for Youth Steering Committee has developed the P.A.Y. Policy Initiative, which is designed to provide resources and proven policy examples to address physical activity issues in community and school settings.
The Physical Activity for Youth Policy Initiative, or P.A.Y. Policy Initiative, was developed by the P.A.Y. Steering Committee, whose members include:
- üNational Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity
- üCenters for Disease Control & Prevention
- üPresident’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
- üAmerican Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
- üAmerican College of Sports Medicine
- üNational Association for Sport and Physical Education
- üNational Recreation and Park Association
- üSporting Goods Manufacturers Association
- Society of State Directors of Health, Physical Education & Recreation
Purpose of P.A.Y.
The Steering Committee was formed in the Winter/Spring of 2001 to determine a means of implementing the strategies identified in the Fall 2000 Report, Better Health for Young People Through Physical Activity and Sports: A Report to the President from the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Education.
With this goal in mind, members of the P.A.Y. Steering Committee determined to develop a policy initiative that would provide sound resources and recommendations to assist policymakers and advocates in promoting opportunities for youth to be physically active. After a year of research and discussion, the P.A.Y. Policy Initiative was born.
The P.A.Y. Policy Initiative covers four main areas: after-school programs, community programs, community design, and school programs. It is a living document and is intended to change as new programs, legislation, and strategies are developed. Success requires a commitment to obtaining adequate funding, necessary resources, and providing access to all skills, abilities, interests, and backgrounds.
Each of the four sections (after-school programs, community programs, community design, and school programs) contains 1.) a rationale explaining the purpose and need for policy; 2.) a menu of recommended policies and 3.) a listing of policies in action. For full details on each policy, the Policy Resource Guide provides full examples of the policies in action, as well as other policies that physical activity advocates may find helpful.
As noted above, members of the Steering Committee consider this a living document and welcome your thoughts and comments, which can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.