Regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and treat noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and breast and colon cancer. It also helps prevent hypertension, overweight and obesity and can improve mental health, quality of life and well-being. Yet, much of the world is becoming less active. As countries develop economically, levels of inactivity increase. In some countries, these levels can be as high as 70%, due to changing transport patterns, increased use of technology, cultural values and urbanization.
Failure to act to increase levels of physical activity will see related costs continue to rise, with negative impacts on health systems, the environment, economic development, community well-being and quality of life.
This new global action plan to promote physical activity responds to the requests by countries for updated guidance, and a framework of effective and feasible policy actions to increase physical activity at all levels. The plan sets out four objectives and recommends 20 policy actions that are universally applicable to all countries and address the multiple cultural, environmental and individual determinants of inactivity.
Effective implementation will require bold leadership combined with cross-government and multisectoral partnerships at all levels to achieve a coordinated, whole-of-system response.
The World Health Organization will support countries to scale up and strengthen their response with evidence-based policy solutions, guidelines and implementation tools, and will monitor global progress and impact.