Global action plan aims to reduce physical inactivity by 15%

A Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA) to reduce physical inactivity by 15% was launched in Lisbon on 4 June. The launch was co-hosted by WHO, Portugal’s Ministry of Health, and the Portuguese Football Federation, and was attended by the Prime Minister of Portugal and the Director General of WHO.

GAPPA has been developed over the past year, following a request from countries at the World Health Assembly in 2017 for more leadership and a road map to increase levels of physical activity, with input from around the world and representation from across all sectors of government, civil society, private sector, research and academic communities.

The action plan 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.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “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.

"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 neighborhood 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."

WCPT was represented at the launch by Charlotte Chruzander, Swedish Association of Physiotherapists professional adviser. She said: “It’s good to see all sectors are included in the framework. This is a prerequisite to reach the goal of reducing physical inactivity by 15% by 2030. With our specific expertise in using adjusted physical activity in the prevention and treatment of diseases for all ages and abilities, physiotherapists have a crucial role in implementing GAPPA.”

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