Physical activity for prevention - a global challenge

Wednesday 9th May - 10:55-11:25

Globally, physical inactivity is estimated to cost INT$54 billion in direct health care. Regular physical activity is well-established for the prevention and treatment of the leading non-communicable diseases, and its contribution to the prevention of other important risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, and is associated with improved mental health, delay in the onset of dementiaand improved quality of life and well-being are well established.

The World Health Organisation is preparing a new Global Action Plan on Physical Activity for 2018-2030 presenting a vision for “more active people for a healthier world” and setting a target for a 15% reduction in global physical inactivity. A dual objective is to reduce inequalities in participation in physical activity, notably in levels of participation in older adults, women and disadvantaged communities.

The Global action plan is based around four strategic objectives with the mission to “ensure that all people have access to safe and enabling environments and to diverse opportunities to be physically active in their daily lives, as a means of improving individual and community health and contributing to the social, cultural and economic development of all nations.”

Given the multiple ways to be active, and the multiple benefits of active lifestyles across all ages, there are multiple policy approaches. However the challenge in most countries is how to scale and coordinate national actions for effective impact.

Dr Fiona Bull MBE, Programme Manager, Department of Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) at World Health Organization