Draft WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity

Walking In The Park Shutterstock _193x 150The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (UK), submitted comments on the Draft WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity on the 22 September 2017.

The draft plan is a positive step towards tackling this global and pan-societal issue that will require both top-down and bottom-up changes across the member states. The FSEM (UK) welcomes measures to implement a cultural and educational change (positive attitudes and values to everyone being active) to encourage people to build physical activity into daily life and understand the immediate and long term benefits regular exercise can bring.

Key points:

Goal and Vision

  • To make a real impact on the risk reductions for global NCDs, the plan would benefit from a more ambitious goal.
  • The Action Plan is a useful template to encourage a coherence of policy across the UK to deliver increased physical activity for all.

Creating an active society

  • Consistency and high standards in physical activity teaching and education for health professionals is important. FSEM (UK) is developing exemplar learning resources.
  • Exercise Medicine and Musculoskeletal Medicine can prevent and manage NCDs, and should be made available across global health services.
  • It is important to offer education, empower and have empathy. Consider the barriers to activity, help people become more active in a way that is right for them.

Creating active environments

  • Involve the health profession when planning to create active environments.
  • There is an abundance of research and skills borne in sport and paralympic sport medicine which can be applied to public health and in the design of active environments.
  • Active environments should be joined up with local healthcare and GPs who can help to address behaviour change and encourage use.

Creating active lives

  • Physical education needs to have equal prominence to academic subjects in schools.
  • Indicators of success could include physical activity programmes for hard to reach groups as well as whole community. Programmes for hard to reach groups via buddying and incentives in the UK have proven to be effective.
  • Those with health barriers to exercise should also have access to expert medical advice to participate in physical activity.
  • Analysis of the factors which influence people’s exercise behaviour, can help design effective services for those hard to reach and vulnerable groups.
  • Graduated return-to-work (GroW) programmes are effective. Learning can be taken from sport and team medical care where a prescriptive period of appropriate goal-based rehab and a graduated return to work/activity is already being used.
  • Physician led workplace wellness schemes are highly effective in managing and preventing musculoskeletal conditions.

Creating active systems

  • The FSEM (UK) fully supports the development of a cross government, jointly owned, national action plan on physical activity including policy coherence across all sectors.
  • Regional and local delivery is an important part of this. 

Download a PDF of our full response to the Draft WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity

"Excellence in Musculoskeletal Medicine, Exercise Medicine and Team Care"