SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Although awareness about the obesity epidemic has increased over the past year due to a spike in media attention and adoption of government-sponsored health-care legislation, more than two-thirds of American adults continue to struggle with their weight. In an ongoing effort to combat that trend, American Council on Exercise (ACE) released its annual Vision Report detailing 10 objectives aimed at helping people from all segments of society live their most fit lives.
“Our goal of eliminating the obesity epidemic by 2035 isn’t a feat we can accomplish alone; it’s an effort that demands involvement from leaders across the country”
The nonprofit organization, which distributes free information to the public through ACEfit.com, believes collaboration among leaders in government, corporations, the fitness industry, allied health and education is the best way to make progress.
“Our goal of eliminating the obesity epidemic by 2035 isn’t a feat we can accomplish alone; it’s an effort that demands involvement from leaders across the country,” said ACE President and CEO Scott Goudeseune. “There are opportunities for everyone to collaborate, from local leaders, who can encourage fitness in communities through initiatives like the development of walking trails and parks; corporations, which can increase opportunities for physical activity at work through programs supported by certified health coaches; schools, where teachers can provide health education and physical activity options to students and administrators can offer more nutritious meal options; and a host of others. We have all been impacted, either directly or indirectly, by obesity or weight-related illness, so we all have a stake in working together to eliminate this epidemic. Our vision report outlines goals we’ve been able to accomplish and goals we still need to achieve to continue moving forward.”
The ACE Vision Report addresses the following:
- Proactive Involvement from Local Leaders
Health and fitness leaders must continue to push for funding to incorporate healthy living messaging and activity-based programs into communities and the public education system. ACE calls on mayors and civic leaders across the country to take an active and substantive role in addressing the health and fitness of their communities, and supporting activity-based programs like Let’s Move!.
- Greater Access and Innovation in Fitness
Whether it’s through transportation, the development of walkable communities or the construction of new recreation facilities, government agencies and organizations must do more to make fitness readily accessible. Opportunities in pioneering fields including health coaching and obesity counseling will also help fitness professionals, allied health and corporate leaders better understand how lifestyle modifications, behavioral change, nutrition and fitness must work in concert for sustainable transformation.
- Federal Funding that Supports Livable Communities
There has been progress in creating and promoting livable communities through initiatives such as the National Complete Streets Coalition and the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership aimed at supporting activity-based transportation in communities nationwide. ACE believes increased federal funding in this field is a critical part of our fitness future.
- Fitness in the Workplace
From standing desks and walking meetings to employee discounts and reduced membership fees at fitness facilities and health clubs, corporate leaders are finding ways to incorporate physical activity into the workplace. ACE encourages more organizations to follow suit with programs led by certified health coaches who can help ensure the safety, well-being and productivity of American workers.
- More Collaboration Among Fitness and Health-Care Organizations
Helping all generations incorporate more physical activity into their lives will not only improve individual health and performance; it will, over time, decrease the rate of preventable disease. Fitness and allied health leaders must make more of an effort to share information and resources as we heighten awareness about the importance of making healthy choices.
- Healthier Choices and Education
ACE continues to advocate for public access to information people need to make more informed decisions and change longstanding unhealthy habits. This year, in an effort to empower Americans with credible, research-based information, ACE launched ACEfit.com. The organization also supported policy aimed at providing states and districts more flexibility to invest in student health and wellness resources in areas where they will have the greatest impact, and federal programs dedicated to environmental changes within communities that make healthy living easier.
- Greater Inclusiveness to Encourage Fitness for All
The fear of failure, embarrassment about body image or belief that an exercise program doesn’t match their abilities keeps many people from beginning the journey to a healthy lifestyle. A team of ACE exercise physiologists created the ACE Integrated Fitness Training® model to help fitness professionals develop customized programs for clients. The organization has also sought to increase inclusiveness by partnering with Academia Fit in the Latino community and the Inclusive Fitness Coalition that connects professionals who serve people with disabilities to clients who need their help.
- Academic Involvement
ACE believes public schools and institutions of higher education must be encouraged to incorporate quality health and fitness curriculum, standards and guidelines into programming. ACE supported revision of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition’s Physical Fitness Test so that it more effectively tests the health and movement capabilities of school-age children, currently provides Operation Fit Kids® curriculum at no cost to public schools, and continues to partner with more than 400 colleges and universities that teach ACE certification material to students. Schools must also have the equipment and facilities to teach comprehensive fitness classes, which demands cooperation among public and private sectors.
- Engagement with Low-Income Communities
Research indicates low-income communities experience a higher rate of obesity and chronic disease due, in part, to less access to gyms, fitness facilities, higher quality healthy foods and trustworthy information. ACE has supported policy that would provide funding and other rewards to local educational agencies and schools in low-income communities, and programs that make fruits and vegetables more affordable.
- Leverage Private Funds and Contributions
To give communities, schools and employers the tools they need to incorporate opportunities and education centered on fitness and nutrition, funding is needed. Health and fitness leaders must do more to collaborate with and assist organizations that obtain and distribute private contributions aimed at encouraging a healthier America.
To read the full Vision Report text, included within our 2012 Impact Report, click here.
Since 1985, American Council on Exercise (ACE) has evolved from a small nonprofit dedicated to educating people about proper fitness to a 50,000-strong network of certified Personal Trainers, Group Fitness Instructors, Health Coaches, and Advanced Health and Fitness Specialists. As the largest NCCA-accredited nonprofit fitness certification organization in the world, ACE provides quality continuing education to professionals and conducts independent science-based research to protect all Americans from unsafe and ineffective products. Our goal is to inspire people to live their most fit lives through free fitness resources including workouts, nutrition information and expert advice. For more information, call (800) 825-3636 or visit ACEfitness.org. AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EXERCISE, ACE and ACE logos are Registered Trademarks of American Council on Exercise.