Recently, Representatives Ron Kind and David McKinley introduced H.R. 2891, the Physical Activities Recommendations for Americans Act in the House of Representatives. The bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prepare and promote physical activity recommendations based on the latest scientific evidence at least every ten years.
While the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans were updated recently, H.R. 2891 places emphasis on keeping those guidelines up to date, as well as understandable and useful for all. In November 2018, Bill Crockett, Past NIRSA President and current member of NIRSA’s Government Affairs Committee, was able to represent NIRSA at a Congressional briefing and on Hill Day advocating for the importance of this information.
H.R. 2891 would also direct HHS, five years after the release of each set of recommendations, to publish a midcourse report highlighting best practices and continuing issues relating to physical activity among Americans. Given the strong base of science and medicine that shows the benefits of exercise, every American needs to know the current physical activity recommendations to promote health and combat obesity.
If you’d like to support the regular updating of physical activity recommendations, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), has made it easy to do so. They have created a page on their website that, after entering some basic information, users can employ to generate a form letter to ask their member of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2891. Users can use the sample language provided or edit it to reflect their own views. The letter can then be submitted right from the website.
A note about public comments
Many colleges and universities have strict rules for their employees around lobbying (including contacting members of Congress to express a viewpoint on legislation), including the use of institutional email addresses or phone numbers. Unless authorized otherwise, it is recommended members express their views as private citizens by using personal email addresses and/or phone numbers and stating their views as their own.
NASPA’s “Federal Regulatory Notice and Comment Period Q&A,” as well as their suggestions for engaging in public policy as a private citizen, are great resources to review before commenting.
- For more information, please contact NIRSA Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships Erin O’Sullivan.