Newsroom > DHHS News Release

June 22, 2010

Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047,

First National Physical Activity Plan Impacts Nebraskans

Lincoln – The National Physical Activity Plan released in May is a sweeping initiative to improve physical activity and public health. The plan is a focused effort to motivate people in every community to become and stay physically active, and to remove the barriers that may stand in their way.

“Physical activity is a necessary component to a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer. “Studies have shown that adults gain substantial health benefits from two and a half hours a week of moderate aerobic physical activity, and youth benefit from an hour or more of physical activity daily.”

The National Physical Activity Plan is a public/private collaboration that, together with the Nebraska Physical Activity and Nutrition State Plan, provides a framework for policy and environmental changes that strives to get communities, businesses, schools, healthcare systems and providers, and individuals active and healthy.

The plan is, in part, an answer to America’s alarming rates of adult and childhood obesity and decreasing levels of physical activity. These rates are also increasing here in Nebraska with nearly two-thirds of adults being overweight (37%) or obese (28%).

According to Dr. Schaefer, physical inactivity and sedentary habits, such as television viewing, contribute to the increased risk for Nebraskans to be overweight or obese, or have diabetes, coronary heart disease, depression, bone disease, cancer and other diseases.

“Nearly one-third of Nebraska adults did not meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity in 2009. One-fourth of students reported that they were not physically active for the 60+ minutes any day in the past week in 2009 and nearly one-fourth of students reported watching more than three hours of television per day on an average school day,” Schaefer said. “We can do better.”

If implemented, measures called for in the National Physical Activity Plan could significantly improve public health, cut health care costs, and reduce health disparities nationally and in Nebraska.

To access the National Physical Activity Plan, go to To access the Nebraska Physical Activity and Nutrition State Plan, go to For additional information on physical activity, go to the Nutrition and Activity for Health program at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services at