WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity: A message from the ISPAH President

The Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030 More Active People for a Healthier World has been endorsed by the 71st World Assembly.

This action may seem far removed from ISPAH members everyday actions in research and the promotion of physical activity however it’s publication is profoundly relevant to us all.

Simply, the WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity is a global acknowledgement of the “pandemic of physical inactivity” starkly highlighted in the Lancet Physical Activity Series in 2012 and 2016. It is unique, as it offers a menu of actions that underpin 4 key objectives - Active Environments, Active People, Active Systems and Active Society. Its development has been driven by an extensive global consultation, assessing the feasibility and relevance of action to country’s capacity and resources. Read more about the WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity here

The action plan marks an output for the concerted advocacy efforts of many ISPAH members and Councils and the roots of its contents can be traced back to seminal ISPAH documents, including the most recent Bangkok Declaration on Physical Activity for Global Health and Sustainable Development. The leadership efforts of Thailand, WHO Physical Activity team and critical support from global NGOs, plus direct input from ISPAH members to shape the document, should all be acknowledged and congratulated.

The plan is here – and it reflects years of advocacy and campaigning and it is also a testament to an increase in volume and quality of research into basic, clinical and applied sciences of physical activity and health. The growth of the evidence now demonstrates the potential to gain across multiple sectors, from exercise medicine and sport to social care, dance to dementia prevention and economic regeneration to urban planning.

So what could you do to support the dissemination and use of the action plan?

One option could be to share the action plan with one local and national policy maker, using the action plans synergies to connect with UN NCD targets and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Identify which local issues the action plan can contribute to improving. Make this connection real, bring together others to support actions and offer to help to contribute to solving this problem.

Turn the plan into action – don’t waste this critical moment.

Charlie Foster
ISPAH President