Active Voice: ACSM Publishes Scientific Pronouncements Related to the 2018 PAG for Americans
By Lynette L. Craft, Ph.D., FACSM

Lynette L. Craft, Ph.D., FACSM
Lynette L. Craft, Ph.D., FACSM, is the chief science officer (CSO) at ACSM. She earned her Ph.D. in kinesiology from Michigan State University and her master’s in exercise science from Arizona State University. She completed post-doctoral training at Boston University School of Medicine. In her role as CSO at ACSM, she provides day-to-day oversight for all scientific and research activities. This includes effectively communicating to members and key stakeholders the scientific and research mission of ACSM, its scientific priorities and opportunities for engagement. Further, she collaborates with staff and members to implement ACSM’s strategic plan related to science and research. In this capacity, she also facilitates the work of expert panels in all phases of developing ACSM Position Stands and other official pronouncements.

In February 2018, the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee (PAGAC) released its Scientific Report to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). That report summarized the scientific evidence on physical activity and health and was used to inform the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. ACSM was well-represented on the PAGAC—14 of the 17 committee participants are current ACSM members or fellows.

The guidelines are geared toward the American public and those working to improve public health behavior. While the guidelines understandably receive a significant amount of attention, the scientific report summarizing the research evidence underlying those recommendations doesn’t. Thanks to the efforts of ACSM President-elect and PAGAC member William Kraus, M.D., FACSM, ACSM recently had the unique opportunity to publish a collection of 14 systematic reviews resulting from that scientific work. These systematic reviews appear in the June 2019 issue of MSSE, released just last week.

The PAGAC Scientific Report was developed using best practice methodology (see Figure 1, page E-4, this source) for conducting systematic reviews. The methodology includes identification of specific questions to be answered, development of inclusion/exclusion criteria, a systematic search strategy, screening and review of evidence for each question, abstraction of data, assessment of study quality and risk of bias. The final stage of this process is to compose a comprehensive summary of the evidence. These steps mirror those that ACSM uses in the development of its own position stands and another newer type of pronouncement that ACSM now issues, the umbrella review. Further, all of the literature searches for these papers were updated by the authors prior to ACSM’s acquisition. As such, we are confident these reviews are an accurate representation of the science and reflect the current state of knowledge.

The 14 papers published in this collection are systematic and umbrella reviews that answer the specific questions identified by the PAGAC. The reviews cover a variety of topics, such as the relationships between physical activity and cancer, cognition, hypertension and osteoarthritis. Physical activity in youth and adolescence, in pregnancy and in aging also are covered. Further, some papers focus on specific physical activity metrics such as daily step counts, activity bout duration and high intensity interval training (HIIT). The relationship between sedentary behavior, health and physical activity promotion strategies is also covered.

As you can imagine, it is a huge honor for ACSM to publish this collection in its flagship research journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®. We are pleased to bring these noteworthy papers together in one location and to provide free access to our members and the general public via acsm.org and the MSSE website. We anticipate members will use these papers in a variety of ways, including:
  • identifying gaps in the literature and planning research projects to address these;
  • citing the information and source, as current evidence in their own research papers and grant applications;
  • using the content to inform development and delivery of effective interventions; and
  • in their teaching and clinical work.
ACSM is excited to not only publish these reviews as a collection in a single edition of MSSE, but to also publish these reviews as ACSM pronouncements. Publishing this collection as pronouncements indicates that ACSM finds them of the highest merit and worthy of representing the college’s position. More information about ACSM pronouncements can be found here.

We are grateful to all of the review authors for bringing this important work to ACSM. You can view and download this collection of scientific pronouncements here.