FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

YMCA of the USA Supports New National Physical Activity Guidelines

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2008—New physical activity guidelines released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will give Americans the information they need to achieve and maintain good health, according to YMCA of the USA, the national resource office for the nation’s 2,686 not-for-profit YMCAs.

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans set achievable goals for everyone and can be customized according to a person’s interests, lifestyle, health conditions and objectives. Overall, the guidelines recommend that adults should obtain 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, preferably spread throughout the week.  Children and adolescents should do 1 hour (60 minutes) or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

“There is no doubt that regular physical activity has health benefits. But many Americans do not know how much activity is needed to reap those benefits,” said YMCA of the USA President and CEO Neil Nicoll. “With these guidelines, YMCAs hope that Americans – especially those seeking a path to better health – develop a clearer understanding of the amount and types of physical activity needed to live a healthy lifestyle while also reducing the risk of chronic disease.”

According to Nicoll, YMCAs are collectively one of the nation’s largest providers of health and well-being programs. Through Activate America® – the YMCA’s response to the nation’s health crisis – YMCAs are redefining the way they work both inside their facilities and out in their communities to support individuals of all ages who desire a healthier lifestyle but need help to reach their goals.

“For nearly 160 years, YMCAs have offered programs and services that strengthen the spirit, mind and body for individuals of all ages. Because of our history and reach into communities throughout the U.S., YMCAs are in a unique position to help millions of Americans attain their health goals,” said Nicoll. “Through community YMCAs, we hope to help Americans turn the knowledge they gain from these guidelines to actions that lead to healthy choices in all areas of their lives.”

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About YMCA of the USA
YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the nation's 2,686 YMCAs, which serve 21 million people each year, including nearly 10 million children under the age of 18. YMCAs respond to critical social needs by drawing on their collective strength as one of America's largest not-for-profit community service organizations. Through a variety of programs and services focused on the holistic development of children and youth, family strengthening, and health and well-being for all, YMCAs unite men, women and children of all ages, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels. From urban areas to small towns, YMCAs have proudly served America's communities for nearly 160 years by building healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Visit www.ymca.net to find your local YMCA.

Contact:
Kelly Kennai
YMCA of the USA
202-835-9043
kelly.kennai@ymca.net

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.