Cross-posted from Office of Minority Health, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
Steps competition highlights health benefits of increased physical activity
Washington, DC – As part of its observance of National Minority Health Month in April, the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today launched the Active & Healthy Challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to encourage individuals, especially racial and ethnic minorities, to work physical activity into their daily and weekly schedules. The challenge is co-sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Health’s Bureau of Minority Health Access.
“Our theme for National Minority Health Month is Active & Healthy, and OMH is inviting everyone to make regular physical activity a part of their lives and help reduce their risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases,” said CAPT Felicia Collins, deputy assistant secretary for minority health and OMH director. “Increased physical activity can also boost our mental health and help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.”
The Active & Healthy Challenge is designed to promote the newly released Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAGs) and the Move Your Way campaign from the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Teams will compete in the month-long challenge by logging their physical activity (e.g., brisk walking, running, biking, dancing or swimming) and converting the activities into steps. The challenge is also open to individuals.
The new PAGs recommend that everyone should move more and sit less throughout the day. Adults need at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week with muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week. Children and adolescents ages six to 17 should do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day and muscle-strengthening at least three days a week. Preschool-aged children, ages three through five, should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development.
For less active or inactive adults, replacing sedentary behavior with light-intensity physical activity – such as a slow-paced walk – is also likely to produce some health benefits.
In 2016, just 21 percent of African Americans and 17 percent of Latinos met both the 2008 physical activity and muscle strengthening guidelines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [PDF, 250KB]. For American Indians and Alaska Natives, just 15 percent met both guidelines, and only 17 percent of Asians met them. Just 24 percent of whites met both guidelines.
The challenge will begin April 1, 2019 and end at midnight ET on April 30, 2019.
OMH will announce the winning team and individuals at the end of the challenge.