Physical Activity Guidelines

Promoting the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

ASTHO, with support from the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, is working to assess the current uses of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG) and to educate and mobilize state health leadership to utilize and integrate PAG throughout the state health agency. ASTHO has developed an issue brief, a webinar series, state case studies, and other resources to support implementation efforts.

ASTHO Physical Activity Guidelines Resources

Supporting and Sustaining the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: The Role of State and Territorial Health Agencies
This issue brief provides an overview of PAG and the PAG Midcourse Report. Recommendations for how state and territorial health agencies can sustain and support PAG are highlighted through case studies which describe the successful implementation of statewide initiatives that promote increasing physical activity across multiple sectors and throughout the lifespan.

Physical Activity Guidelines State Case Studies
Read about state-specific initiatives to increase physical activity across various sectors. Case studies feature Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, and West Virginia.

Physical Activity Guidelines Webinar Series Recordings and Materials
These webinars highlight national and state activities underway to increase physical activity across age groups and sectors, including schools, early care and education, and the built environment.

Physical Activity Guidelines Recommendations Slide Deck
This slide deck outlines the recommendations of PAG and the PAG Midcourse Report as well as provides specific recommendations for state and territorial health agencies for increasing physical activity.

Physical Activity Guidelines and the National Prevention Strategy

The National Prevention Strategy provides evidence-based recommendations for 4 Strategic Directions and 7 Priority Areas. ASTHO has developed an online toolkit with resources intended to help state and territorial governments implement the recommendations in the NPS, including one focused on "Active Living." To view resources in the other areas, please visit the NPS Implementation Toolkit.

Midcourse Report

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report: Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Youth was released in March 2013. The HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, along with the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, convened a subcommittee to review the evidence on strategies to increase physical activity among youth, ages 3-17. The Midcourse Report summarizes intervention strategies from a review-of-reviews and is organized into five different settings where youth live, learn, and play: family and home, preschool and childcare, school, primary care, and community.

Read ASTHO's comments from the public comment period.

Age-Specific Guidelines


In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the inaugural Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG). The PAG were designed to provide information and guidance for policymakers and health professionals on the types and amounts of physical activity that produce long-term health benefits.

Engaging in regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do as it has many health benefits and affects many health conditions, including: helps with weight control; reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers; strengthens bones and muscles; improves mental health; increases chance of living longer; among numerous other benefits. The PAG provide evidence-based recommendations to help Americans aged 6 and older to improve their health through appropriate physical activity.

State health agencies have the ability to be key players in the promotion of physical activity in their states. They have the partnerships and relationships necessary to spread the recommendations of the PAG to an extended audience of policymakers, physical educators, health providers, and the public in order to educate them on the amounts, types, and intensity of physical activity needed for a healthy lifestyle across the lifespan and for various populations.

Learn more about the rationale and development of the PAG.

Additional Resources

Physical Activity Builds a Healthy and Strong America
This infographic describes the impact that inadequate physical activity has on America’s health, economy, and military readiness. Additionally, it highlights the health and community benefits that increased physical activity can provide.

CDC State Indicator Report on Physical Activity, 2014
This report provides data on physical activity behaviors and environmental supports that encourage increased physical activity in each state. Individual State Action Guides provide state specific data and actions that state health departments can take to increase physical activity.

2014 U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth
This report from the National Physical Activity Alliance and the American College of Sport Medicine provides a comprehensive evaluation of physical activity across 10 indicators and reveals that less than half of U.S. children and youth are meeting physical activity standards. This tool and accompanying educational video can be used as advocacy tools and a call-to-action for decision makers.