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Step Up, WHO Urges As Figures Reveal 1 In 4 Adults Don’t Exercise Enough

Museveni exercises after an anti-corruption walk in Kololo

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for better and fairer opportunities for physical activity to improve overall health among all age groups, across the globe.

Although WHO guidelines recommend adults should do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week, and 60 minutes per day for Children and adolescents, statistics reveal that one in four adults, and four out of five adolescents, do not currently get enough physical activity.  Women are less active than men, with more than an eight per cent difference at the global level.

The health agency notes that up to five million premature deaths a year could be prevented if the global population was more active, but many people live in areas with little or no access to spaces where they can safely walk, run, cycle or engage in other physical activities. Where opportunities do exist, older adults or people with disabilities may simply not have access to them.  To improve this situation,

In a new advocacy brief, Fair Play: Building a strong physical activity system for more active people, the agency asks decision-makers across the health, sport, education and transport sectors, to promote the benefits more. The Fair Play brief was released during WHO’s final webinar in a series convened to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on sport and physical activity.

The brief highlights the main challenges and opportunities and calls for all partners to strengthen collaborations and support countries to scale up actions in this area.

Solutions that work include sustained community campaigns, inclusive programmes in local communities, and safer environments that support more walking and cycling, for everyone. The Head of the Physical Activity Unit at WHO, Fiona Bull, said that the brief “provides clear messages to all who work, to create a more active society”.

For WHO Deputy Director-General, Zsuzsanna Jakab, there is an urgent need to provide people with better opportunities to live active healthy lives. “WHO is calling for industries, civil society and governments, as well as UN agencies, to build a common vision for creating more active societies through sport, walking, cycling and playing”, she explained.

The agency points out three key actions: stronger partnerships across sectors; stronger governance structures and regulations; and broader, deeper and innovative financing mechanisms.


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