Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 6(6), November 2009, Copyright © 2009 Human Kinetics POSTED WITH PERMISSION
Elevating Physical Activity as a Public Health Priority: Establishing Core Competencies for Physical Activity Practitioners in Public Health
Amber Dallman, Eydie Abercrombie, Rebecca Drewette-Card, Maya Mohan, Michael Ray, Brian A. Ritacco
Table of Contents for Vol. 6, Iss. 6
exercise, credential, credentialing, benchmarks, scope of practice, NSPAPPH, PAPH
Background: Physical activity has emerged as a vital area of public health. This emerging area of public health practice has created a need to develop practitioners who can address physical activity promotion using population-based approaches. Variations in physical activity practitioners’ educations and backgrounds warranted the creation of minimal standards to establish the competencies needed to address physical activity as a public health priority. Methods: The content knowledge of physical activity practitioners tends to fall into 2 separate areas—population-based community health education and individually focused exercise physiology. Competencies reflect the importance of a comprehensive approach to physical activity promotion, including areas of community health while also understanding the physiologic responses occurring at the individual level. Results: Competencies are organized under the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 5 benchmarks for physical activity and public health practice. Conclusions: The greatest impact on physical activity levels may be realized from a well-trained workforce of practitioners. Utilization of the competencies will enable the physical activity practitioner to provide technical assistance and leadership to promote, implement, and oversee evaluation of physical activity interventions.