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The WHO Action Plan for Physical Activity
The World Health Organisation (WHO) global action plan to promote physical activity aims to reduce physical inactivity by 2030. The WHO believes that investment in policies and programmes to promote overall physical activity among the population by the government, the private sector, the health sector along with civil society can go a long way toward complementing and achieving many of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDS). These SDGs include:
• SDG2- ending all forms of malnutrition
• SDG3- good health and well-being
• SDG4- quality education
• SDG5-gender equality
• SDG8-decent work and economic growth
According to the WHO, 23 per cent of adults and 81 per cent of adolescents (aged 11-17), fall short of the WHO global standard for physical activity. It is noted that as society has changed due to increased use of technology, urbanisation and patterns of transportation, levels of physical inactivity is as high as 70 per cent in some countries.
The WHO states that improving physical activity can prevent and treat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity while at the same time impacting positively on the mental and the social well-being of the population.
The WHO action plan consists of four wstrategic objectives and 20 policy actions:
(1) Creating an active society (attitude and social norms)
(2) Creating active environments (spaces and safety)
(3) Creating active lives (opportunities and programmes)
(4) Creating active systems (research, governance and policy enablers)
The action plan 2018-2030 complements the overall findings of the IDB report on sport and physical activity for the Latin America and the Caribbean. The burning question is whether the findings and recommendations of these reports would receive serious action beyond verbal acknowledge.
A positive response by the government through its various ministries in conjunction with national governing bodies (NGBS), civil society and the private sector is required to ensure that the goals and objectives of developing a physically active society are achieved. The benefits that will be derived will not only be a healthier society but a reduction in the costs of healthcare both to the state and the wider society.
“I don’t feel it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.” Michel Foucault
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