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I am pleased to present the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the first comprehensive guidelines on physical activity ever to be issued by the Federal government. This document is intended to be a primary source of information for policy makers, physical educators, health providers, and the public on the amount, types, and intensity of physical activity needed to achieve many health benefits for Americans across the life span. The good news is that these guidelines are achievable and can be customized according to a person’s interests, lifestyle, and goals.

This document is based on the report submitted by the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, a group comprising 13 leading experts in the field of exercise science and public health. The committee conducted an extensive review of the scientific data relating physical activity to health published since the release of the 1996 Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health. I want to thank the Committee and other public and private professionals who assisted in creating this document for their hard work and dedication.

Along with President Bush, I believe that physical activity should be an essential component of any comprehensive disease prevention and health promotion strategy for Americans. We know that sedentary behavior contributes to a host of chronic diseases, and regular physical activity is an important component of an overall healthy lifestyle. There is strong evidence that physically active people have better health-related physical fitness and are at lower risk of developing many disabling medical conditions than inactive people.

Prevention is one of my top priorities. Although physical activity is clearly vital to prevention, it is easy for many of us to overlook. These Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans provide achievable steps for youth, adults, and seniors, as well as people with special conditions to live healthier and longer lives.


Michael O. Leavitt

[Signed September 22, 2008]
Michael O. Leavitt

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