New statewide plan encourages physical activity, healthy lifestyle
Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2011 00:11
A statewide plan is being finalized to improve the health and quality of life for West Virginia residents by promoting more physical activities.
West Virginia is one of only two states taking the initiative to adapt a personalized version of the National Physical Activity Plan in hopes of changing the lifestyles of its residents, said Eloise Elliot, Chair of WVPAP.
"The plan is a comprehensive, statewide plan that involves eight societal sectors of the population that come together to try to promote physical activity opportunities and participation in the state," Elliot said.
Those eight sectors include health care; public health; education; business and industry; mass media; parks, recreation, fitness and sports; transportation, land use and community planning; and volunteer and non-profit organizations.
Shannon Holland, executive director of West Virginia on the Move, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting health through physical activity, said the plan is especially important to the state due to its at-risk obesity rates.
"The National Activity Plan got us excited in West Virginia because we have one of the highest and fastest growing obesity rates in the country," Holland said. "Physical activity can not only impact the quality of life but can also help in preventing many chronic diseases."
Holland said it's vital to have all sectors of society involved in the plan to ensure its success.
"Some think that we can just increase physical activity in PE class to fix the problem. You have to consider the entire population and work with every sector of society," Holland said.
"The plan is a multifaceted approach to what seems like a simple problem, and it takes every sector of society to take its role and move forward with it."
Elliot said West Virginia University students have a great advantage when it comes to maintaining an active lifestyle.
"Students can walk and use active transport to get around campus. They have a great facility to use, and there are many outdoor opportunities around Morgantown, as well," Elliot said.
"One of the key messages of the plan is to take advantage of those opportunities and make it a priority in your life to be physically active everyday."
The West Virginia Physical Activity Plan is supported by WVU's College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, West Virginia on the Move Inc., and the WV CARDIAC Project.
The plan will be available for public comment starting Tuesday.
Elliot said it's important for the public's reactions to be considered before the plan is finalized.
"The idea is to get West Virginians everywhere – young and old – to realize it's their responsibility to not only become more physically active themselves to improve their health, but also to promote physical activity in the population," Elliot said.
To view the plan, visit http://wvphysicalactivity.org.