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  1. Nelson, Miriam E. PhD
  2. Kennedy, Mary A. MS


Over the past several decades, more and more research has been published demonstrating the health benefits of physical activity. The benefits have been far ranging-from reducing premature death from all causes of mortality to reducing depression in older adults. This past year, Secretary Michael Leavitt from the US Health and Human Services convened a panel of experts to carefully review all of the scientific evidence for the benefits of physical activity. A 13-member committee was brought together to form the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. In June of 2008, the Committee submitted their comprehensive 683-page report to Secretary Leavitt. The technical report was used by the US Department of Health and Human Services to develop the 2008 Physical Activity Guideline for Americans. The inaugural set of Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans was released on October 7, 2008. This article summarizes the events that led up to the development of those Guidelines and provides a brief overview of their key recommendations