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World Health Organization launches Global Action Plan on Physical Activity

World Health Organization launches Global Action Plan on Physical Activity
June 4, 2018

In response to requests by countries for guidance, the World Health Organization (WHO) has today released a Global Action Plan on Physical Activity, offering global leadership in supporting and valuing people being regularly active and providing a framework of effective and feasible policy actions to increase physical activity at all levels.

Releasing the new WHO global action plan in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus advised "being active is critical for health. But in our modern world, this is becoming more and more of a challenge, largely because our cities and communities aren’t designed in the right ways.

"We need leaders at all levels to help people to take the healthier step. This works best at city level, where most responsibility lies for creating healthier spaces."

The WHO highlights that worldwide, one in five adults, and four out of five adolescents (aged 11 to 17 years), do not do enough physical activity. Girls, women, older adults, poorer people, people with disabilities and chronic diseases, marginalized populations, and indigenous people have fewer opportunities to be active.

Regular physical activity is key to preventing and treating non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and breast and colon cancer. NCDs are responsible for 71% of all deaths globally, including for the deaths of 15 million people per year aged 30 to 70.

The Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA) shows how countries can reduce physical inactivity in adults and adolescents by 15% by 2030. It recommends a set of 20 policy areas, which combined, aim to create more active societies through improving the environments and opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to do more walking, cycling, sport, active recreation, dance and play.

It also calls for support to, for example, training of health care workers and other professionals, stronger data systems, as well as use of digital technologies.

Dr Tedros added “you don’t need to be a professional athlete to choose to be active. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator makes a difference. Or walking or using the bike instead of driving to your neighbourhood bakery. It’s the choices we make each and every day that can keep us healthy. Leaders must help make these choices the easy ones."

To support national efforts to implement the plan, WHO is launching an advocacy campaign to promote physical activity, Let’s Be Active: Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday. This new drive, launched at the Portuguese Football Association’s famous Cidade do Futebol (City of Football), aims to encourage governments and city authorities to make it easier for people to be more physically active, and healthier.

It follows the first WHO Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge event that attracted more than 4,000 people to promote movement and activity for health on 20th May in Geneva, on the eve of the World Health Assembly.

WHO is to stage a invitation-only Dialogue with the Sports Industry on the Implementation of the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030 in Geneva, Switzerland, in February 2019.

Click here for more information on the WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity and Health 2018-2030: More active people for a healthier world.

Main image shows the WHO's Walk the Talk/Health for All initiative. Courtesy of the WHO.

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23rd March 2018 - New Zealand set for massive wellness sector growth

28th September 2017 - ESSA highlights how physical activity is beneficial for all ages

19th September 2017 - New Zealand’s major parties quizzed on exercise and fitness

24th May 2017 - ESSA reminder on the importance of exercising for a healthy heart

10th June 2016 - Fitness industry says ‘yes’ to Global Wellness Day

26th May 2016 - IHRSA reports ongoing growth in global fitness industry

23rd May 2016 - ESSA urges Australians to undertake the right kind of exercise

27th April 2016 - Research shows billions saved on health, crime and education as a result of sport investment

13th October 2015 - Sport included in United Nations development goals

10th October 2015 - Rise in obesity hits United Nations goals on diet-related diseases

9th February 2014 - New physical activity guidelines double recommended adult activity levels

5th February 2014 - World Health Organisation calls for Governmental restrictions on alcohol and sugar


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