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August 31, 2006

National fitness plan based on Pitt research

Pitt’s Department of Health and Physical Activity, part of the School of Education, is joining with local corporate, medical and community partners to launch the Pittsburgh arm of “America on the Move,” a collaborative initiative to help Pittsburghers get healthy.

The community-wide initiative, targeting the greater Pittsburgh region, was launched this week with media messaging and a web site where participants can register for the program.

The “America on the Move” plan is based on research conducted by John Jakicic, associate professor and weight management researcher in Pitt’s Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center.

Jakicic is director of the center, chair of Pitt’s health and physical activity department and organizer of “America on the Move” in Pittsburgh.

“This is a call to action with steps on how to do it,” said Jakicic. “We are taking the tools that we have used in smaller group research and are sharing with the public — at no cost — what we know works.”

Pittsburghers can register for “America on the Move” by going to

Because UPMC Health Plan is an “America on the Move” partner, individuals who carry the plan can receive additional benefits. Plan participants should enter the code “UPMC” as the group registration code on the registration pages, and enter the UPMC Health Plan ID number from their health plan card when prompted.

The web site will encourage participants to log in daily to record the number of steps they have walked that day, as well as prompt them to enter their weight weekly. Every Monday a new motivational and educational “Step to Better Health” will be posted.

“We’re actually going to be able to have measurable outcomes, and we will be able to track for the first time how we are improving as a community. That has never been done before,” said Jakicic. “We will actually know if we are becoming a healthier community.”

Jakicic’s research focuses primarily on the role of exercise in weight control. He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health to examine strategies for improving exercise adherence and to examine varying doses of exercise on long-term weight control, the use of intermittent exercise to promote adoption and maintenance of physical activity in overweight adults, and the use of behavioral strategies to improve long-term weight loss outcomes.

In addition, Jakicic is examining the role of exercise in the prevention of weight gain and other interventions related to diabetes prevention and treatment.

Pitt’s “America on the Move” corporate partners include UPMC Health Plan, H.J. Heinz, Del Monte and KDKA-TV.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 39 Issue 1

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