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World Health Organisation to develop global action plan to promote physical activity: time for action
  1. Charlie Foster1,
  2. Trevor Shilton2,
  3. Lucy Westerman3,
  4. Justin Varney4,
  5. Fiona Bull5
  1. 1 Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2 National Heart Foundation, Perth, Western Australia
  3. 3 NCD Alliance, Geneva, Switzerland
  4. 4 Healthy People Division, Public Health England, England, UK
  5. 5 Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, World Health Organisation, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Charlie Foster, Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, UK; charlie.foster{at}

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Coinciding with the WHO’s 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva (22–31 May), the WHO launched the process to develop a new Global Action Plan to promote physical activity.1 This development could not come at a more critical time for global health.

The Assembly heard that progress on reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is significantly off track, and the target to reduce physical inactivity, a key risk factor for NCDs, is far from being achieved. With physical inactivity a rising global concern from Europe, North and South America, to Asia, Australasia and increasingly Africa,2 the development of a new Global Action Plan should be welcomed by physical activity advocates, practitioners, policy makers and scientists everywhere. The Global Action Plan is a new opportunity to enable a step change in the approach to using evidence-based policy across geographies, environments and communities and different populations.

This moment matters to the physical activity and health community. It reflects years of advocacy and campaigning and is a testament to an increase in volume and quality of research into basic, clinical …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

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