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What Hippocrates called ‘Man’s best medicine’: walking is humanity’s path to a better world
  1. Emmanuel Stamatakis1,2,
  2. Mark Hamer3,
  3. Marie H Murphy4
  1. 1 Charles Perkins Centre, Epidemiology Unit, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 School of Sport Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
  4. 4 Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, Charles Perkins Centre, Epidemiology Unit, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia; emmanuel.stamatakis{at}

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Whether it is a stroll on a sunny day, walking to and from work, or walking down to the local shops, the act of putting one foot in front of the other in a rhythmic manner is as much human nature as breathing, thinking and loving. This Walking and Health special issue of the British Journal of SPorts Medicine (BJSM) celebrates the 21st anniversary of Morris and Hardman’s seminal Walking to Health review published in 1997.1 This Special Issue is an opportunity to celebrate three decades of exciting multidisciplinary research on this seemingly mundane activity—walking. The member society lead on this Special Issue, the International Society of Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH), has been instrumental to the growth of this area of research and global advocacy for physical activity that has culminated in the development of the WHO Global Physical Activity Action Plan.2 The forthcoming seventh ISPAH Congress (15–17 October 2018, London)—the first ISPAH conference in the UK—is a wonderful opportunity for the interested reader to engage with a welcome community of scientists, practitioners and policy-makers in walking and physical activity.

Comprehensive update on walking and health in this issue

This Special Issue includes three extended editorials,3–5 three systematic reviews6–8 (including one meta-analysis6), one narrative review, one scoping review9 and one individual participant pooled analysis.10 World Health Organization Program Leader Fiona Bull and the co-author of the 1997 review Adrianne Hardman3 provide the historical context. What was state-of-the-art in 1997 and have …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.