The Alliance for Health Promotion’s response to the worldwide trend on physical activity report by WHO 

Geneva, Switzerland, September 4, 2018

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published worldwide physical activity trends in the Lancet Global Health today showing a lack of progress made in physical activity levels since 2001. If such trends continue, the 2025 global physical activity target of 10% relative reduction in insufficient physical activity will not be achieved. More than 1.4 billion adults worldwide are at risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as a result of physical inactivity.

The message is loud and clear; there needs to a substantial increase at the country-level to scale-up implementation of effective policies. Policies to increase population levels of physical activity need to be prioritised and scaled up urgently.

Community-based campaigns to enhance awareness and understanding of the physical activity benefits (social, economic, and environmental) is one of the 20 policies outlined in WHO’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018–2030[1]. The Alliance for Health Promotion (A4HP) considers social mobilization by way of community-based campaigns to be an effective strategy to encourage healthy behaviour by enhancing awareness of benefits of physical activity. Each year since 2015, A4HP uses the yearly Health Promotion Day to bring local together with global to raise awareness of health promotion. The Health Promotion Day was organised in collaboration with WHO this year, during the 71st World Health Assembly (WHA), to encourage participation in the Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge from WHA delegates, the UN family and the Geneva community.

Health literacy also has an impact of physical activity levels. Although low health literacy is often associated with a lower level of education, according to this study higher income countries have shown the least progress made in physical activity levels. Economic development and urbanization have no doubt impacted physical activity levels but with adequate health knowledge, skills and information, that is increased health literacy, everyone has the opportunity to improve their health.

In collaboration with its members, the Alliance for Health Promotion will continue its work of creating active communities and empowering individuals to improve their health knowledge and skills.

[1] WHO. Global action plan on physical activity 2018–2030. More active people for a healthier world. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018.

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An Alliance committed to health promotion

The Alliance for Health Promotion (A4HP), established in 1997 at the 4th WHO Global Conference on Health Promotion in Jakarta, is an International NGO registered with the State of Geneva, Switzerland.

The Alliance is comprised of a network of NGOs from different sectors who share a dedication to health promotion. A4HP is an NGO in Official Relations with the WHO and holds Consultative Status with the United Nations ECOSOC. A4HP uses its global network to reach out to local communities with health knowledge and resources.

What is Health Promotion?

When thinking about health, medicine and doctors are the first thing that come to mind. In essence health is a much broader and inclusive subject with many different aspects to it and one of its key areas is Health Promotion.

We consider Health Promotion as the means to support individuals to take responsibility for their own health and to work for an environment in which they can be successful.

In 1986, the Ottawa charter for health promotion identified five action areas for Health Promotion.

  • Build Healthy Public Policies
  • Create Supportive Environments
  • Strengthen Community Action
  • Develop Personal skills
  • Reorient Health Services

30 years later, the Ottawa charter continues to provide a solid foundation upon which to build.

Health Promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over and to improve their health

Ottawa Charter 1986