WHO launches consultation process on global action plan for physical activity

Photo: Lighttruth/Flickr

Photo: Lighttruth/Flickr


By Play the Game
The first draft of the World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan has been released and WHO now gathers feedback through the launch of an open consultation process.

Although many countries have adopted plans for the promotion of a more active lifestyle, many countries still fail to meet the global recommendations for physical activity.

By bringing together a wide range of sectors and relevant stakeholders and taking into consideration new knowledge, technology experience and data, WHO is in the process of forming a Global Action Plan for Physical Activity with the overall aim of making one hundred million people more active by the year 2030.

WHO has recently launched an open web-based consultation on the first discussion paper to get feedback from as many stakeholders as possible. The consultation is open until the 22 September.

The action plan consists of four strategic objectives, which are designed to enable the establishment of environments and opportunities for all citizens to be more physically active. A part from the health benefits that come from more movement, this will furthermore enhance both social, cultural and economic developments, WHO believes.

The four strategic objectives, which will include concise actions for WHO member states are:

1. Creating an active society: Creating societies with a positive attitudes and values towards being active through education and knowledge sharing.

2. Creating active environments: Establishing safe and accessible environments in all peoples’ lives where they can be physically active.

3. Creating active lives: Securing opportunity e.g. by setting up community programmes supporting all people to be physically active in their community. 

4. Creating active systems: delivering leadership that secures necessary governance, data collection, research and development. 

The action plan receives support from various stakeholders for the variety of sectors involved in the development process and for its broad scope.  

“I strongly welcome the way in which the Global Action Plan of Physical Activity sees the promotion of physical activity not solely as a health issue, but from a broader perspective as a human right which will “enhance the social, cultural, economic development and wellbeing of nations,” says President of the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) Mogens Kirkeby in a comment on ISCA’s website.

The Global Action Plan will be one of the subjects discussed during ISCA’s MOVE Congress in October, Kirkeby says.

Dr Karen Milton, a researcher in physical activity and health at the University of Oxford and part of the strategic advisory network for the development of the draft action plan, encourages anyone with an interest in physical activity and health to give feedback to the plan.

“This is our opportunity to ensure that the global action plan is evidence based, comprehensive, engages all relevant sectors, and is achievable for all countries regardless of income level or the current context of physical activity policy and action,” Milton writes in a blog post on PLOS blog.

“If we can achieve this, the action plan will help to drive real change in physical activity, not only for health, but for the many benefits across all sectors.”

A final draft action plan is expected to be ready in the spring of 2018.


  • Neal Ames, Sydney, Australia, 21.08.2017 03:26:

    I have been a recreation planner in Australia for 17 years. I have extensive experience with physical activity programs, sports management, infrastructure development and sport governance. It has been my experience that structured sport does not provide a physical benefit that is statistically superior than a person who engages in a 30 minute a day program of unstructured activity.

    Research from the UK, Canada, the US and Australia indicates that benefits from physical activity are gained from unstructured activities such as walking, running and other ancillary activity. This research also indicates that weight loss, association with physical activity, is limited. If you take a person who needs to lose 10kg 3kg can be lost from physical activity, 5kg from reduction of energy intake and the other 2kg from a combination of both. Therefore the value of physical activity needs to be seen from a more holistic perspective, where the participant gains both philosophical as well as social benefits from the activity.


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