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Scotland's progress in putting policy about physical activity into practice
  1. Andrew Murray1,
  2. Catherine Calderwood2,
  3. Niamh O'Connor3,
  4. Nanette Mutrie1
  1. 1Physical Activity for Health Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Chief Medical Officer, Scottish Government, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Health Analytical Services, Scottish Government, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrew Murray, Physical Activity for Health Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ, UK; docandrewmurray{at}

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The need to increase global levels of physical activity to benefit population health is now incontrovertible.1 ,2 Policy that recommends a voluntary target by countries to reduce global inactivity by 10% by the year 2025 has been adopted by the WHO.

A route map to increase physical activity

Given the compelling argument, and clear aim to increase physical activity, what is required are methods and tangible actions to achieve this goal. Global experts reviewed the evidence for the most effective ways to increase population levels of physical activity and produced a guide to investments that work.3 This has provided a north star for many individuals, organisations, communities and countries aiming to increase physical activity levels. However, there is still a need for examples of how these investments have been implemented and evaluated. Here we offer Scotland's experiences.

Scotland's efforts to increase physical activity


In 2003 a long-term, cross-sector and cross-party policy called ‘Let's make Scotland more active’ was endorsed by the Scottish Government.4 This set a 20-year framework and aimed to have 80% of children achieving 60 min of activity every day and …

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  • Twitter Follow Andrew Murray at @docandrewmurray and Nanette Mutrie at @nanettemutrie

  • Contributors AM and NM had the idea. All the authors developed the first, and subsequent drafts of the manuscript. All the authors reviewed and approved the final manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • i

  • ii The measures are drawn from Scotland's major national population surveys and key administrative sources: Scottish Health Survey; Scottish Household Survey; Healthy Living Survey; and Audit Scotland. The four data points on the majority of the indicators are annual data points from 2011 to 2014. For some indicators only 3 data points are available because of the change to UK Physical Activity Guidelines in 2011. Full detail on all indicator data, including original source, method of collection, and definition is available at: