UIC kinesiologist to advise on new federal physical activity guidelines

David X. Marquez

David X. Marquez, associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences

University of Illinois at Chicago kinesiologist David X. Marquez has been appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to serve on the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee.

Comprised of 17 nationally recognized experts, the committee will examine current research on physical activity and health prior to publishing a second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The committee is supported by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

The government’s current guidelines, established in 2008, provide specific recommendations on improving health through physical activity, including the recommendation that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate exertion each week.

“The Physical Activity Guidelines give men and women an unbiased set of recommendations they can trust when it comes to achieving or maintaining health through physical activity,” says Marquez, who is associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences. “It’s time to revisit these guidelines and compare them to latest research to ensure they are up-to-date.”

Marquez is particularly interested to see how the new edition may reflect improvements in technology over the last 10 years. As a researcher who has worked for years with the Latino community, he also looks forward to a discussion on guidelines for specific populations — although the goal, he says, is to provide recommendations applicable to all Americans.

“Research tells us that some of the most important measures we can take to prevent serious health conditions are those that are relatively inexpensive for many Americans. First and foremost, this includes maintaining a healthy weight by staying active and eating nutritious foods,” said Marquez. “The guidelines help everyone, from healthcare providers to parents and individuals, solve an important part of this equation.”

According to HHS, the committee will spend two years reviewing research and holding meetings—which will include opportunities for public comment online at health.gov/paguidelines—and then develop evidence-based recommendations. The report will be submitted to the secretary of HHS for final review before publication in late 2018.

“I feel very good about the process that is ahead of us,” said Marquez, who describes the work as a “specific and systematic review” of peer-reviewed studies on the topic. “It is wonderful to be part of an initiative that gives people progressive, easy to understand, practical guidelines for living a healthy life.”