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About Me:

Suzanne Hurley, CDC

Suzanne Hurley Zarus is the Health Communication Specialist in the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Prevention (DNPAO). DNPAO’s current priority is to reverse the U.S. obesity epidemic through population level change that focuses on adopting policies and creating environments that support healthier lifestyle choices, including active living lifestyle. Suzanne is a part of the Policy and Communication Team’s work to promote such policy and environmental changes with funded states and partners. She aims to meet the Guidelines each week through walking, gardening, sailing (very moderate intensity), and biking.

Recent Posts by CDC

High School Students And Physical Activity

by CDC September 30, 2011

Written by Suzanne Hurley, CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Many people are aware that too few U.S. high school students in grades 9-12 are getting enough physical activity. But do you know which groups of high school students are getting less physical activity than others?

The findings of a recent school-based study - the CDC 2010 National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study (NYPANS) - provide the answers. The results can be found in a June issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), but here are some highlights:

More high school male students than female students met the Healthy People 2020 aerobic and muscle strengthening activity objective:

  • 18.5% of male high school students
  • 5.8% of female high school students

Additionally, more students met the aerobic and muscle strengthening activity objective during their early high school years.

  • 15.0% of 9th graders
  • 12.3% of 10th graders
  • 10.7% of 11th graders
  • 10.3% of 12th-graders

Nationwide, only 15.3% met the aerobic objective of the Healthy People 2020 Physical Activity objectives, 51% met the muscle-strengthening objective, and 12.2% met the objective for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

Healthy People 2020 objectives measure recommended levels of youth physical activity and are based on the 2008 Physical Guidelines for Americans:

Youth aged 6 to 17 years need at least 1 hour of physical activity each day, and muscle strengthening activity at least 3 days a week.

To improve youth physical activity participation, efforts are needed among CDC, state and local public health agencies, schools, and other public health partners that promote physical activity.

Communities have an important role to play in supporting efforts to promote or create school-based quality physical education programs, and to create or enhance access to places for physical activity.

Listen to a Podcast on the importance of physical activity. Read more information on school guidelines and strategies.

How can you improve physical activity participation rates among all high school students?

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News & Reports | Schools

Translating the National Physical Activity Guidelines For Decision-Makers and Practitioners in the Workplace Setting

by CDC February 12, 2010

People working out at the gym

Work sites are important partners in promoting physical activity with their employees.   Healthcare costs can be reduced by having physically active employees.  Many organizations recognize that healthcare costs can be reduced by promoting physical activity but lack the tools to do so.  The release of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and related information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site provides an opportunity to promote physical activity together with information about physical activity and the management of chronic diseases. Additionally, the Task Force on Community Preventive Services recommends worksite programs to improve diet and/or physical activity behaviors based on strong evidence of their effectiveness for reducing weight among employees. We would like to share several CDC resources for the workplace.


Business Case for Physical Activity


A toolkit will be available that will build on the most effective materials and practices for promoting opportunities for physical activity in the work place. At the same time, the toolkit will include information about the new Physical Activity Guidelines as a key part of promoting increased activity. While the toolkit may be shared directly with business groups, this resource will be particularly useful to nutrition and physical activity promotion state and local community programs, as well as other chronic disease state programs. Look for announcements about this new resource on this blog and on the CDC DNPAO listserv later this year.


Lean Works


As a Web-based resource, Lean Works!, offers interactive tools and evidence-based resources to design effective worksite obesity prevention programs. The site includes an obesity cost calculator to estimate how much obesity is costing a company and how much the company could save by using different workplace interventions. The site also includes a step by step approach for organizations to develop such interventions: Why, Plan, Build, Promote, and Assess.


CDC’s Healthier Worksite Initiative (HWI)


The Healthier Worksite Initiative is guided by an advisory committee made up of representatives from many CDC centers and locations. HWI has worked on improving stairs, the cafeteria, and walking trails, implemented fitness discounts, and modified policies for healthier foods at CDC-sponsored meetings and events. This Web site is comprised of lessons learned from these

CDC activities for program design.


There is also a wealth of new policies and steps for implementing similar programs in work sites. For example, one policy section contains specific policies that impact healthy promotion at federal workplaces, including laws, regulations, and rules to promote voluntary and legally binding behavior. The Web site includes many toolkits available from other programs: general workforce health promotion, nutritious eating, physical activity, preventive health screenings, and healthy choices.  There is also guidance on how to use and adapt the toolkits.


Chronic Disease web portal


The CDC Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) will soon have a Web portal providing links to all of the CDC Chronic Disease prevention work site toolkits and resources. Look for this resource later in 2010. 


Does anyone have an example of an effective promotion of the Physical Activity Guidelines by a business or at a worksite? If so, we are interested in hearing about it and might be interested in featuring it in one of the worksite toolkits or Web sites.


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Physical Activity and Employers

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