WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has joined Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa to launch the new ‘WHO Global action plan on physical activity and health 2018-2030: More active people for a healthier world’.
The launch of the global action plan on physical activity comes as concerning figures show that one in five adults and four out of five adolescents (11-17 years) worldwide do not do enough physical activity.
Those with chronic diseases have fewer opportunities to be active, which needs changing as regular physical activity is key to both preventing and treating noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as:
- Heart disease;
- Diabetes; and
- Breast and colon cancer.
NCDs are responsible for 71% of all deaths globally, including the deaths of 15 million people per year aged 30-70.
Physical activity is critical
Tedros commented on the launch, saying: “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.”
What is the action plan?
The new action plan shows how countries can reduce physically inactivity in adults and adolescents by 15% by 2030.
A set of 20 policy areas aim to create more active societies through the improvement of environments and opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to do more:
- Active recreation;
- Dance; and
The action plan also calls for support to training healthcare workers and other professionals, stronger data systems, as well as use of digital technologies.
Tedros added: “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 neighbourhood 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.”