Healthy People 2020 and Recreation Therapy

Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans with the goal to achieve the below by 2020:

  • Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death.
  • Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups.
  • Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all.
  • Promote quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages.

So, how can recreation therapy in physical rehabilitation and medicine play a crucial role in supporting and contributing to this national initiative? Because many of us are already helping people with disabilities and illness every day reach physical activity goals and decrease barrier to physical exercise! We are already reaching some of these goals for Healthy People 2020 with our patients daily!

According to the Healthy People 2020, factors positively associated with adult physical activity include:

  • Postsecondary education
  • Higher income
  • Enjoyment of exercise
  • Expectation of benefits
  • Belief in ability to exercise (self-efficacy)
  • History of activity in adulthood
  • Social support from peers, family, or spouse
  • Access to and satisfaction with facilities
  • Enjoyable scenery
  • Safe neighborhood

Factors negatively associated with adult physical activity include:

  • Advancing age
  • Low income
  • Lack of time
  • Low motivation
  • Rural residency
  • Perception of great effort needed for exercise
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Perception of poor health
  • Being disabled

For our section of PM&R, Healthy People 2020 can play a role in talking with the administration for increasing budget, resources, and even additional staff for your recreation therapy departments.

For more information, check out

How does learning more about Health People 2020 impact your current recreation therapy practice? Where else can recreation therapy step in to help increase this national program?

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