March 2, 2018

Purdue prof contributes to new physical activity guideline recommendations

Wayne Campbell Wayne Campbell Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Purdue University nutrition professor contributed to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report that was released Friday (March 2).

“You don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from the important ways that exercise and physical activity help make you healthier,” said Wayne Campbell, professor of nutrition science, whose expertise integrates human nutrition, exercise physiology and geriatrics. “There is an important message that when you go from being completely sedentary to being physically active in any way, large or small, there are health-promoting effects. Whether your goal is striving to become physically fit or to participate in some sort of athletic event, or being able to walk up a set of stairs instead of taking an elevator, these are all achievable and should be encouraged.”

The report, which was released by the Department of Health and Human Services, was generated by a committee that reviewed the latest scientific evidence to identify the best practices for physical activity, health and fitness for Americans to prevent disease and promote good health. Their report will help influence the next edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The public is encouraged to view the Scientific Report and provide written comments to the federal government online. The comment period will be open for 30 days closing on March 31.

“One of the really interesting parts of this report is just how much physical activity can really help people who spend most of their day being sedentary,” said Campbell, who participated on subcommittees related to weight control and health, quantity and quality of exercise, and benefits of physical activity for older people. “If you have a very sedentary lifestyle, because of your job or for whatever reason, it is possible to offset the adverse health consequences by being physically active during portions of the day. Just because you have a sedentary lifestyle, don’t think you are resigned to not having good health. It is important to know that it’s possible to offset the negative effects of being sedentary by regularly being physically active. People who are very sedentary will help themselves by being active as much as possible, including purposeful exercise.”

Some of the highlights in the report include findings that show regular physical activity can provide a variety of benefits, such as sleeping better, feeling better and performing daily tasks more easily. Some benefits even begin immediately as exercise is begun. A review of the recent scientific evidence also increased the number of disease and conditions that physical activity reduces the risk, such as various cancers.

“Another example of the importance of physical activity pertains to the health and well-being of older adults. We’ve known for a long time, that as people get older they have an increased risk of falling, and being physically active can reduce the risk of falling,” Campbell said. “The 2018 PAGAC Report describes that being physically active also greatly reduces the risk of being seriously injured if you fall - for example - needing medical treatment or breaking a bone. This is a really important finding and powerful message; all middle-aged and older adults should use physical activity as a tool to reduce the risk of fall-related injuries.”

Campbell also studies the effects of healthy eating patterns, consuming protein-rich foods, and exercise training on weight control, body composition, muscle size and function, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The committee was appointed in 2016 to make recommendations so government leaders can update the 2008 inaugural guidelines.

“Good health is built with various components, including nutrition and physical activity, and it’s also key that we look at the human body’s needs from young child to older adult,” Campbell said. “It was an honor to do this and work with these professionals. I am very pleased with the scientific rigor that went into developing this report as well as the strong support of the federal government officials in supporting the committee as it does its work.”

From 2013-2015, Campbell served as a committee member to help shape the nation's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines provide the foundation for national nutrition programs, standards and education.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu 

Source: Wayne Campbell, campbeww@purdue.edu

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