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Bright spots, physical activity investments that work: Agita Mundo global network
  1. Victor K R Matsudo1,2,
  2. Estelle V Lambert3
  1. 1 Center of Studies from the Physical Fitness Research Laboratory of Sao Caetano do Sul (CELAFISCS), Sao Caetano do Sul, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  2. 2 Agita São Paulo Program and the Physical Activity Network of Americas (RAFA/PANA), Center of Studies of the Physical Fitness Research Laboratory from Sao Caetano do Sul, São Caetano do Sul, São Paulo, Brazil
  3. 3 Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Dr Victor K R Matsudo, CELAFISCS, AVENIDA GOIAS 1400, Sao Cateano do Sul-SP 9.5213e+006, Brazil; matsudo{at}celafiscs.org.br

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Programme Card

  • Which of the seven best investments the programme addresses?

    • Agita Mundo activities are represented under two of the seven best investments, including mass media campaign and community-wide campaigns for physical activity.

  • What sectors it involves: Agita Mundo works through many sectors, including communities, schools, worksites, healthcare settings and mass media.

  • Estimated programme reach

    • Agita Mundo network annual celebrations take place between 6 April to 10 May, with typically more than 2000 events annually worldwide. The Agita Mundo network has been responsible for connecting more than 200 organisations all across the globe.

  • What is unique about this programme?

    • Agita Mundo is a global movement based on promoting physical activity through social mobilisation that has shown impressive longevity and uptake across many parts of the world.

  • Key contact(s): Victor KR Matsudo <matsudo@celafiscs.org.br> Estelle V. Lambert <vicki.lambert@uct.ac.za>

  • Programme website: http://www.portalagita.org.br/en/#

Background and key features of the programme

Agita Mundo is a global network and, more recently, an independent council of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health, the main objective of which is to promote physical activity as a health-enhancing behaviour for people of all ages and abilities, through social mobilisation.1 2 Social mobilisation has been defined as ‘a process that raises awareness and motivates people to demand change or a particular development…which seeks to facilitate change through engaging a range of players in interrelated and complementary efforts’.3 This network was initially formed as consequence of the success of Agita São Paulo, a programme launched in 1996, in response to the alarmingly high prevalence of sedentary lifestyles in the state of São Paulo, Brazil.1 2 In 1997, less than 15% of Brazilians engaged in at least 30 min of leisure-time physical activity, more than once per week, with only 3.3% actually meeting physical activity recommendations of 30 min of physical activity on 5 or more days of the week, and nearly 70% following a sedentary lifestyle.4

The main focus of this global network and social movement was and is to promote physical activity using different strategies including annual celebrations and ‘mega-events’, dissemination of these events and activations via the Internet, awareness-raising campaigns among politicians and policy-makers and the stimulation of regional network formation, as well as leveraging existing partnerships to promote physical activity, along with other innovative approaches.1 5 6

Programme’s success

Agita São Paulo showed a 41% proportional decline in sedentary lifestyles in the São Paulo metropolitan area and about 70% proportional decline across the São Paulo state,1 7 representing annual equivalent savings of US$310 million in the state health sector. The impact of Agita São Paulo inspired the creation of many similar programmes in Brazil, in the Americas and in the world, including the Physical Activity Network of the Americas (RAFA/PANA) and the Agita Mundo global network. This organisation was officially launched in Brazil in October 2002 with the support of more than 180 Brazilian national and international institutions.1

Programme reach

Activations linked to the World Day for Physical Activity (and World Move for Health Day) are the most prominent activities of this network. Each year, a central theme is selected by the Agita Mundo network. For example, in 2016, the theme was ‘Active Child, Healthy Adult!’ In general, these celebrations typically exceed more than 2000 global events annually, organised and held on or around either day, in different parts of the world.1 2 5 The Agita Mundo website, under the custodianship of CELAFISCS (Centre for Laboratory Studies on Physical Fitness of São Caetano do Sul), documents and serves as a repository for these events. Documenting these activations provides an annual global ‘map’ for mass events promoting physical activity.

Since the establishment of the Agita Mundo network, many international physical activity-promoting networks such as Network for the Promotion of Health-Enhancing Physical Activity (founded in Denmark in May 2005)5 and the African Physical Activity Network (AFPAN, founded in South Africa in 2007)6 have been formed, and the network has played a critical role in the dissemination of messages concerning the importance of and benefits associated with physical activity on a global scale.1 2 6 The Agita Mundo network is has been responsible for connecting more than 200 organisations all across the globe.1

Factors critical to success

Advocacy has been supported by evidence, and the growth of regional networks. This involves partnering with credible scientific and academic institutions, having a clear and consistent message, ongoing monitoring of participation and evaluating impact, building coalitions and retaining a flexible and inclusive organisational structure that is not overly bureaucratic.1 2 6 To join Agita Mundo, partnering institutions and individuals simply need to complete a letter of commitment or ‘adhesion’.1 2

Lessons learnt

Physical activity has been implicated in the success of as many as 8 of the 17 sustainable development goals for 2030.8 As such, networks such as Agita Mundo helped to mobilise civil society and social activations, to create awareness concerning the health and co-benefits of physical activity.

Fourteen years after the launch of Agita Mundo, however, the message concerning physical activity may need to be updated, beyond simply creating awareness concerning the co-benefits of physical activity. As Agita Mundo moves forward, it may be important to recognise physical activity as a ‘rights-based issue’ and to advocate to ensure universal access to physical activity opportunities; the promotion of policies in urban planning, education and transport which address social and environmental justice; and the creation of activity-permissive environments. It is critical that the elements of fun and enjoyment do not become ‘lost in translation’.

References

Footnotes

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. Owing to a scripting error, some of the publisher names in the references were replaced with ’BMJ Publishing Group'. This only affected the full text version, not the PDF. We have since corrected these errors and the correct publishers have been inserted into the references.

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