DALLAS (April 8, 2003) – The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Board of Directors announced today that it has overwhelmingly agreed to embrace and support the Physical Activity for Youth (PAY) policy initiative, which is developed by the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity. As the need for organized youth physical activity programming continues to rise because of increased inactivity in children, NATA is part of the leadership coalition that is leading this national effort to advance key recommendations related to after-school programs, community design, and community and school programs. NATA, representing the more than 30,000 members of the athletic training profession, is a permanent board member of the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA), which is driving the PAY policy initiative. The NATA’s national office in Dallas has encouraged its 10 districts throughout the United States to send letters to NCPPA vowing their own commitment. The goal is to ultimately capture the attention of physical activity advocates, federal, state and local policymakers and media, and persuade them to support programs that encourage physically active lifestyles among children. “It was easy for us to decide whole-heartedly to back the NCPPA’s ‘PAY’ initiative. Our members are health care professionals who want only the best for America’s youth, and we know that athletic trainers can bring specialization and expertise to assist NCPPA in this initiative,” said Julie Max, MEd, ATC, NATA president. ”We support NCPPA’s recommended policies for after-school programs, community and school programs, and for community design that implements programs and incentives to launch actions, such as required zoning that encourages walking and biking to school.” According to NCPPA Executive Director Karen Silberman, the PAY initiative seeks to provide a means for advocates and policymakers to address the issue of physical inactivity among youth. Despite the proven benefits of physical activity, scientific research indicates that more than a third of young people in grades 9 – 12 do not regularly engage in vigorous physical activity. Daily participation in high school physical education classes dropped from 42 percent in 1991 to 29 percent in 1999.* “It is extremely important to tackle this issue, so we can counter any ill effects that we might face in the near future,” said Silberman. “We are pleased to have NATA partner with us in what is such a significant initiative for all of our young people across the country.” ATCs are educated in health care, nutrition, exercise physiology, education, prevention and assessment of illnesses and injuries, and health care administration. ATCs work in high schools, colleges and universities, sports medicine and rehabilitation clinics, manufacturing plants and military bases. About NATA: Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are medical professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur to athletes and the physically active. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports the more than 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through education and research. Throughout March, NATA celebrates “National Athletic Training Month.” For more, visit www.nata.org. *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity and Good Nutrition: Essential Elements to Prevent Chronic Diseases and Obesity 2002.