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J Sports Sci Med. 2003 Dec 1;2(4):169-74. eCollection 2003.

Strategic priorities for increasing physical activity among adults age 50 and older: the national blueprint consensus conference summary report.

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  • 1Department of Kinesiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , USA.
  • 2American College of Sports Medicine , Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
  • 3Robert Wood Johnson Foundation , Princeton, New Jersey, USA.


On May 1, 2001, a coalition of national organizations released a major planning document designed to develop a national strategy for the promotion of physically active lifestyles among the mid-life and older adult population. The National Blueprint: Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults Age 50 and Older was developed with input from 46 organizations with expertise in health, medicine, social and behavioral sciences, epidemiology, gerontology/geriatrics, clinical science, public policy, marketing, medical systems, community organization, and environmental issues. The Blueprint notes that, despite a wealth of evidence about the benefits of physical activity for mid-life and older persons, there has been little success in convincing age 50+ Americans to adopt physically active lifestyles. The Blueprint identifies barriers in the areas of research, home and community programs, medical systems, public policy and advocacy, and marketing and communications. In addition to identifying barriers, the Blueprint proposes a number of concrete strategies that could be employed in order to overcome the barriers to physical activity in society at large. This report summarizes the outcome of the National Blueprint Consensus Conference that was held in October 2002. In this conference, representatives of more than 50 national organizations convened in Washington, D.C. with the goal of identifying high priority and high feasibility strategies which would advance the National Blueprint and which could be initiated within the next 12 to 24 months. Participants in the consensus conference were assigned to one of five breakout groups: home and community, marketing, medical systems, public policy, and research. Each breakout group was charged with identifying the three highest priority strategies within their area for effectively increasing physical activity levels in the mid-life and older adult population. In addition to the 15 strategies identified by the breakout groups, three "cross-cutting" strategies were added which were considered to be broad-based in scope and which applied to more than one of the breakout themes. A national organization was identified to take the lead in planning and implementing each strategy. A summary of the 18 strategies and lead organizations is presented. The National Blueprint Consensus Conference has identified an ambitious agenda of strategies and tactics that will need to be implemented in order to overcome societal barriers to physical activity among the mid-life and older adult population. More than 50 national organizations have expressed a commitment to work towards the implementation of the Blueprint agenda. Eighteen priority strategies have been identified in the areas of home and community, marketing, medical systems, public policy, and research. The organizations charged with the task of implementing the high priority strategies will use professional networks and established delivery channels and communication systems to translate this plan into action.


Physical activity; community; medical systems; older adults; public policy

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