WV Physical Activity Plan

What's the Plan?

We all want a healthier West Virginia! We want to provide opportunities throughout our state to improve the health of our citizens. We want to promote healthy living where everyone lives, works and plays. We want to reduce healthcare costs, promote economic development and enhance West Virginians’ quality of life.

We know it takes a united team to work toward a solution – and we know it takes dedicated leaders from each of the population sectors to make it happen. One part of the solution is the development and implementation of an effective plan. The aim of the plan is to create a statewide culture that facilitates physically active lifestyles in every societal sector and in every region of our state, regardless of socio-demographic factors, or other barriers we may face.

The overarching goal of the WV Physical Activity Plan is to provide a strategic direction to increase/maintain healthy physical activity levels of the citizens of WV through the development, implementation, and evaluation of an effective plan that will facilitate sector input and collaboration, and guide policy and practice.

The WV Physical Activity Plan has been developed as a plan “by the people for the people”. The plan was constructed using input from individuals from each of the 8 societal sectors. Key organizational partners from throughout the state are critical to the success of the plan, and a sector leader team with representatives from all eight sectors will ensure relevance, viability, and implementation.

WVPAP Sectors

The WV Physical Activity Plan development process includes opportunities across sectors. The designated sectors include Health Care; Public Health; Education; Business and Industry; Mass Media; Parks, Recreation, Fitness, and Sports; Transportation and Land Use; and Volunteer, Non-Profit, and Faith-Based.

Call to Action

For years, health care providers have served as trusted sources for the latest health and wellness information. Patients of all ages entrust their health and well-being to the sound advice and direction of many health care professionals across their life span. It is this unique patient/provider relationship that enhances the importance and vital role health care providers must play in promoting health and physical activity. This can be accomplished by supporting health care professionals in training and counseling patients in the need for physical activity as a part of a healthy lifestyle and its role in prevention and treatment of disease. By becoming more engaged in promoting physical activity, health care professionals extend their impact on the health of West Virginians regardless of age, disability, or economic status.

Strategies & Tactics

Health care professionals must assume greater responsibility and engagement in the promotion of physical activity as a function of disease prevention and treatment of all patients, regardless of age, disability, or economic status.

  1. Support schools and school systems to better comply with state-mandated health and physical education requirements.
  2. Engage health care providers in promoting physical activity through clinical practice and community outreach.
  3. Minimize social and environmental barriers that hinder collaborative efforts in physical activity promotion.
  4. Reimburse health care providers who counsel patients on lifestyle changes and demonstrate a return on investment.
  5. Communicate a unified public health message regarding physical activity through a network of engaged health care providers/advocates.

Call to Action

Public health organizations improve the health and well-being of communities through education and the promotion of healthy lifestyles in West Virginia. Public health professionals must continue to assume an important leadership role in promoting physical activity. This can be accomplished by advocating for increased physical activity for all West Virginians, regardless of age, disability, or economic status; educating individuals to take greater responsibility for their own health behaviors; and providing more opportunities for physical activity. By providing opportunities for physical activity and encouraging citizens, public health professionals can help shape policies that will secure a better quality of life for all residents, facilitate the adoption of evidence-based health programs by communities, and evaluate their impact in West Virginia. Public health organizations, leaders, and professionals must promote physical activity by advocating for more opportunities, educating for greater personal responsibility, shaping policy, facilitating the adoption of evidence-based practices, and conducting surveillance and research on health promotion and physical activity programs.

Strategies & Tactics

Public health organizations, leaders, and professionals must promote physical activity by advocating for more opportunities, educating for greater personal responsibility, shaping policy, facilitating the adoption of evidence-based practices, and conducting surveillance and research on health promotion and physical activity programs.

  1. Collaborate with schools to optimize the effectiveness of current policies and practices related to physical activity and physical education for all grade levels.
  2. Develop and launch an aggressive evidenced-based, multi-sector awareness campaign to promote physical activity.
  3. Establish community-based coalitions to develop trails and other environments built for physical activity.
  4. Adopt an evidence-based, community-driven approach that integrates institutional and organizational support to encourage and sustain physical activity in the community.
  5. Engage in advocacy and policy development to elevate the priority of physical activity in evidence-based public health practice, policy and evaluation.

Call to Action

This sector incorporates a range of educational contexts that span the entire developmental perspective from early childhood centers to public school systems to institutions of higher education and related community outreach initiatives serving all age groups. These education organizations represent the heart of many local communities and serve as a bridge to each societal sector. Professionals within our PreK–12 schools teach future generations the skills necessary to succeed in life, including how to make healthy decisions and live well. Schools provide a structured and safe environment for children/youth to learn and grow into healthy, contributing members of society. Recognizing the significant impact education has on the lives of students in West Virginia, education professionals (i.e., school administrators, educators, staff) have a crucial role to play in optimizing opportunities for physical activity and healthy decision making. This can be accomplished through advocating for increased quality, culturally relevant physical education programming and opportunities for physical activity across the school day for students, faculty, and staff. By enhancing the quality of physical activity programming and opportunities, educators can establish a school culture that values healthy behaviors across a lifetime and extends beyond the school, and into the homes of students and their communities.

Strategies & Tactics

Education professionals have an incredible opportunity to impact the health of future generations. It is imperative that educators embrace the issue of accountability in designing and delivering opportunities within the school that encourage participation in engaging, culturally relevant, and accessible physical activities.

  1. Maintain and improve the quality of developmentally and culturally appropriate physical education (preK-12) programming that maximizes physical activity opportunities before, during and after school.
  2. Launch a social marketing campaign that brands physical activity and physical education, highlighting community leaders/champions and natural resources of West Virginia.
  3. Advocate for adequate investment of capital by cities, towns and communities for accessible, affordable physical activity facilities and culturally relevant programming.
  4. Establish well-designed incentives for school administrators, school personnel, medical providers, and related organizations to work together in promoting physical activity in school workplaces.
  5. Work within education and across societal sectors to establish a leadership / advocacy network for school physical activity and physical education research and policy development.

Call to Action

The well-being of West Virginia’s workforce greatly impacts the fiscal health of businesses and the overall economic climate of the state. Business and industry leaders must play a crucial role in promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles among their workforce. This can be accomplished through advocating and supporting increased opportunities for physical activity during and outside the workday. By providing opportunities for physical activity and encouraging employees to participate in physical activity, business leaders can foster a climate that promotes healthful habits among dependents, community members, and business partners across the state.

Strategies & Tactics

Business and industry leaders/professionals must begin to view physical activity as a vital tool that will improve the personal health of employees, the fiscal health of the business, and the business climate of the state.

  1. Establish meaningful relationships between business and industry and local schools that encourage and promote physical activity.
  2. Design an awareness campaign involving business and industry professionals that focuses on healthy lifestyles (i.e., healthy eating, physical activity) within businesses, schools, and communities.
  3. Collaborate with schools, communities and local recreation partners to promote the value of healthy lifestyles and increase access to physical activity opportunities.
  4. Work within business and industry and across societal sectors to increase support for local and statewide physical activity programming.
  5. Use policy to advocate the importance of a physically active workforce and provide employers with incentives to develop healthy business climates and communities.

Call to Action

Mass media has the ability to appeal to people of all ages, demographics, and economic status and has the capability of reaching West Virginians in their homes, workplaces, and in transit. Mass media plays an important role in promoting physical activity and its related health benefits through consistent evidence-based, culturally relevant, targeted, hard-hitting messages. This can be accomplished through paid advertising on television, radio, newspapers, billboards, and the Internet, as well as through social media, such as Facebook, and increased earned media–that is, mass media coverage of stories, programs, and events that promote and encourage physical activity across the state of West Virginia. By increasing media coverage of physical activity-related content and encouraging West Virginians to become more active, mass media professionals can reinforce healthy decisions and challenge citizens of all ages to engage in physical activity for its related health benefits.

Strategies & Tactics

Mass media professionals must provide a voice and raise awareness for physical activity efforts across the state while at the same time enabling individuals to connect across geographic regions and societal sectors.

  1. Use mass media to promote a multi-level, statewide school-based physical activity campaign with a distinct brand and targeted message.
  2. Use mass media and cause marketing to promote a multi-level statewide physical activity campaign that provokes an emotional response from the public.
  3. Serve as a platform to increase citizen awareness and engagement in physical activity by showcasing physical activity opportunities across the state.
  4. Develop regionally coordinated cause marketing efforts through collaboration and participatory planning efforts involving representatives of government, community organizations, and professional/volunteer societies.
  5. Develop a comprehensive statewide cause marketing campaign that uses paid and earned media to influence policy makers’ priorities.

Call to Action

West Virginia is home to beautiful state parks and natural resources that continually entice visitors and tourists from around the world to actively recreate in our state. The terrain of West Virginia provides an ideal setting/environment for professionals within parks, recreation, fitness, and sports organizations to design and deliver recreational and competitive physical activity programming for citizens of all ages. Parks, recreation, fitness, and sports professionals play an important role in creating opportunities for individuals to get and remain involved in physical activity for health and enjoyment. This can be accomplished through advocating for increased collaboration and partnerships among community stakeholders for better use of existing resources, natural environments, and facilities with the aim of promoting and providing increased opportunities for physical activity. By building capacity within communities and incorporating best practices in program design and delivery, parks, recreation, fitness, and sports professionals can positively impact physical activity opportunities for all citizens.

Strategies & Tactics

Parks, recreation, fitness and sports professionals have a stewardship and leadership responsibility to network, educate, and advocate for collaborations, policy change, fiscal support and resources for parks, facilities, and programs to positively impact an increased level of physical activity in West Virginia.

  1. Build partnerships/collaborations between schools and existing community resources (i.e., expertise, natural environments, facilities) to promote physical activity.
  2. Use paid mass media, cause media, social media, and other media outlets to inform the public of the benefits of physical activity, raise awareness of local physical activity resources, and increase community physical activity participation.
  3. Work with health policy makers and community planners to develop and preserve environments that are conducive to regular physical activity.
  4. Establish mutually beneficial relationships across societal sectors with key stakeholders in health and physical activity.
  5. Model use of best practices in physical activity program planning, implementation, and evaluation to leverage support for additional funding, resources and facilities.

Call to Action

The daily routines and lives of West Virginians are significantly influenced by the transportation systems, strategic use of land, and the built environment of their communities. Transportation, land use, and community design professionals have an important role to play in establishing environments that allow citizens to engage in lifestyle physical activity. This could be accomplished through advocating for the design and development of infrastructure within and across communities that accommodate all modes of transportation, including pedestrians, bicycles, and mass transportation. By promoting the establishment of physical activity infrastructure at the community/county level, transportation, land use, and community design professionals can enhance the well-being and lifestyle choices of West Virginians.

Strategies & Tactics

Transportation, land use, and community design professionals must take an active role in informing and encouraging key decision makers to consider physical activity in all long-term land use and transportation plans.

  1. Modify infrastructure and implement programs that enable active transport to and from school.
  2. Create a ‘safe place to cross initiative’ in communities with associated messaging.
  3. Engage citizens in community plan development (i.e., parks, physical activity facilities) to create buy-in and support.
  4. Highlight model programs in urban and rural environments that exemplify transportation-related physical activity strategies and/or solutions.
  5. Advocate for land-use plans that effectively address physical activity and health.

Call to Action

Non-profit and volunteer organizations permeate virtually every region of West Virginia and serve the state’s population by delivering high-quality programs and services. Non-profit and volunteer professionals have abundant resources, including well-established networks, expertise, and relationships within their communities that can greatly influence the health and well-being of West Virginians. Non-profit and volunteer professionals must play an important role in promoting physical activity at the community/grassroots level. This can be accomplished by advocating and supporting increased physical activity programming and messaging that aligns clearly with community and constituent needs. By promoting relevant physical activity programming, non-profit and volunteer organizations can begin grassroots initiatives that raise awareness for physical activity and healthy lifestyles among the citizens of West Virginia.

Strategies & Tactics

Non-profit and volunteer leaders/professionals must begin to communicate the importance of physical activity to those within and across constituent networks in an effort to mobilize local expertise, motivate citizens, and monitor the use of available resources that can support physical activity initiatives across the state.

  1. Develop multi-purpose facilities that integrate education and community needs.
  2. Promote physical activity through grassroots efforts using social media, community meetings, and local marketing.
  3. Complete community needs assessments to determine potential opportunities to increase physical activity.
  4. Share educational and programmatic resources with business owners and employers to disseminate to their employees.
  5. Share data regarding benefits of physical activity with policy makers to encourage policy change.

WVPAP Implementation

Implementation efforts focus on the priority areas, strategies, and tactics recommended across societal sectors including support for programming at the local level, a state-wide cause marketing campaign, and advocacy efforts related to physical activity policy.

Priority Area 1: School Based Programs and Initiatives. Implement multi-year programs to provide resources and technical support for PreK-12 school seeking to establish comprehensive school physical activity programs. (ActiveWV Schools)

Priority Area 2: Public Awareness and Social Marketing. Deliver cause marketing campaign to promote physical activity using the people, programs, and places of WV as the background. (Be Wild. Be Wonderful. Be Active.)

Priority Area 3: Community Engagement and Environment. Establish demonstration centers at city, town, and state parks. Provide resources for local communities seeking to organize programs or events that promote physical activity (ActiveWV Parks and ActiveWV Communities) 

Priority Area 4: Institutional and Organizational Support. Provide resources for primary care physicians interested in writing physical activity prescriptions for their patients based on use of local and state parks. (ActiveWV Health Care)

Priority Area 5: Policy. Collaborate with other key stakeholders in recommending and advocating for policy change related to physical activity promotion.

Learn more at WV Physical Activity Plan website.