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Am J Prev Med. 2013 May;44(5):431-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.02.002.

The U.S. National Physical Activity Plan: dissemination and use by public health practitioners.

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Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA.



The 2010 U.S. National Physical Activity Plan contains a comprehensive set of policies, programs, and initiatives to increase physical activity.


To determine the early awareness, use, diffusion, and implementation of the plan among members of the National Society of Physical Activity Practitioners in Public Health.


The web-based survey was conducted in 2011 and analyzed in 2011-2012. The survey was guided by the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework and Diffusion of Innovations theory. Of 492 professional members, 291 responded.


Overall, 79% reported awareness of the plan, with higher odds among state practitioners compared to other practitioners and among those with state partnerships to address physical activity compared to those without. Among those who were aware (n=230), 15% reported using the plan ≥6 times, whereas 28% had never used it. For those who referred to the plan at least once in their work (n=165), the most commonly reported uses were for brainstorming and discussion (73%); development and implementation of activities (55%); and state-level goal-setting (34%). Related to diffusion principles, many respondents reported that the plan fit their organization's goals (85%) and was easy to understand (81%), yet fewer agreed that changes made after the plan were easy to observe (32%); easy to implement (28%); and low-cost (25%).


This theory-based evaluation found that the National Physical Activity Plan has been broadly disseminated to physical activity practitioners working in public health. Opportunities exist for public health practitioners and others to more fully integrate the plan into their work.

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