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Fitness Australia executive reports on World Health Organization Dialogue

Fitness Australia executive reports on World Health Organization Dialogue
March 22, 2019

Last month, Fitness Australia's National Manager of Advocacy and Partnerships, Joel Perricone attended the second World Health Organization (WHO) Dialogue on the Implementation of the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA) in Geneva, Switzerland along with 20 specialists from all over the world.

Reporting on his role at GAPPA, Perricone this week advised “it's been a tremendous honour for me to have had the opportunity to showcase the great work of the Australian fitness industry in front of a global audience.

“We know that the fitness industry has a major role to play in improving the health of Australians, but as a nation, we still have a long way to go. Being part of this discussion on a global scale gives us the opportunity to learn from examples of good practice by our counterparts in other countries.”

Responding to requests by countries for updated guidance, and a framework of effective and feasible policy actions to increase physical activity at all levels, GAPPA is a new global action plan to help countries scale up policy actions to promote physical activity.

The plan sets out four objectives and recommends 20 policy actions that are applicable to all countries and address the cultural, environmental and individual determinants of inactivity.

Explaining the implications for Fitness Australia, Perricone added “the recent WHO dialogue provides the Australian fitness industry with direction on the role we can play in the health of Australians in relation to the GAPPA.

“This will now help Fitness Australia's strategic direction in the coming years so that we as an industry can impact people's health nationally. This means reaching far and wide to get more Australians active.

“Moving forward, members of the Fitness Australia Industry Development team will investigate how UFIT can fit into Fitness Australia Quality Accreditation.”

Perricone’s key learnings from the dialogue included:

• Inactivity increases as populations get more affluent
• 28% adults globally do not meet recommended physical activity standards
• 81% adolescents globally do not meet recommended physical activity standards
• $54 billion in health cost is attributed to inactivity globally 

Outcomes of the WHO dialogue:

• WHO is going to conduct a research report on the Return on Investment of implementing GAPPA. 
• Potential identification of accelerator countries for the implementation of the GAPPA 
• Begin to identify how the endorsement of the Universal Fitness Innovation and Transformation (UFIT) will into the culture and community of the potential accelerator countries. (UFIT's vision is to make communities inclusive by facilitating the access to health, fitness and sport clubs to all citizens).

The WHO dialogue was also attended by Greg Oliver, Chief Executive of the Fitness and Lifestyle Group and Richard Beddie, Chief Executive of the Exercise Association of New Zealand (ExerciseNZ).

Image shows delegates at the the second World Health Organization Dialogue on the Implementation of the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity. Courtesy of Fitness Australia.

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