Chicago. Illinois - American Heart Association President Ivor Benjamin, M.D. FAHA, issued the following comments on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans released at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions.

“The American Heart Association has long recognized the importance of physical activity in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, stroke and other noncommunicable diseases. We’re committed to developing programs and advocating for public policy that make it easier to get more physical activity, regardless of where you live. These latest guidelines reinforce the importance of moving more and sitting less.

The American Heart Association stands committed to addressing chronic disease prevention through programs and policies supporting increased physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior to help people live longer, healthier lives for themselves, their families and their communities.

Only 26 percent of men, 19 percent of women and 20 percent of adolescents report enough activity to meet the physical activity recommendations. But changing sedentary time to active time in any way – even in small amounts – can have health benefits, according to a key finding in the guidelines.

With a focus on being a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives, the American Heart Association advocates for policies supporting physical education and physical activity in schools and early care and education, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, safe routes to school and Complete Streets that integrate all modes of transportation, accounting for the needs of people and place in an equitable way. We support physical activity assessment and prescription in the clinical environment and workplaces. We create programs and opportunities to encourage people of all ages to get moving and provide tools and tips along the way.

The American Heart Association will adopt the guidelines as the Association’s official recommendations and leverage these new guideless to amplify our efforts to develop programs and advocate for policies that make it easier for everyone to get more physically active regardless of where they live.

We urge other health groups and interested parties across the country to adopt the guidelines and join us in committing to help ensure more people get moving.”

A Perspectives Article by the lead writers of the guidelines published on Monday, November 12 at 9 a.m. in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiology Quality and Outcomes.

In addition, the American Heart Association’s Centers for Health Metrics and Evaluation is hosting a guest blog by Alison Vaux-Bjerke, M.P.H., and Katrina L. Piercy, Ph.D., R.D., ACSM-CEP, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.