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Behavioural epidemiology of physical activity in people living with chronic conditions
  1. Andrew J Atkin1,2,
  2. Shelby Carr3,
  3. Christine Friedenreich4,5,
  4. Stuart JH Biddle6,
  5. Karen Milton3
  1. 1 School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  2. 2 Norwich Epidemiology Centre, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  3. 3 Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Norwich, UK
  4. 4 Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  5. 5 Departments of Oncology and Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  6. 6 Centre for Health Research, University of Southern Queensland, Springfield, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrew J Atkin, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK; A.Atkin{at}

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Chronic conditions, typically characterised as diseases of long duration, slow progression and that require long-term management, contribute significantly to the global burden of disease and are predicted to become more prevalent in the years to come.1 People with chronic conditions are less likely to be physically active than the general population, which has important health and economic consequences.2

In 2020, the WHO released public health guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour including, for the first time, specific recommendations for people living with chronic conditions.3 These guidelines are a significant milestone in the public health movement to promote physical activity for all. However, the WHO Guideline Development Group identified important gaps in the evidence for this population, which may be attributable, in part, to a lack of research funding in this field.4 In their recent consensus statement, Reid and colleagues provide guidance for practitioners on promoting physical activity in people living with long-term conditions.5 Their paper is a valuable contribution to the field, however, substantially more research and implementation activity is needed to increase activity levels in these populations. Here, we use the Behavioural Epidemiology Framework6 to outline the spectrum of research …

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  • Twitter @AJAtkin, @shelby__carr, @stuart_biddle, @karenmilton8

  • Contributors AJA, SC, CF, SB and KM developed the editorial idea. AJA composed the initial draft. SC, CF, SB and KM contributed to further content development, writing and final approval of the manuscript.

  • 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.

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