WHO launches global campaign to promote physical activity
June 5, 2018
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a global campaign to promote physical activity among adolescents and adults as a strategy aimed at preventing and treating Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs).
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the organisation, while launching the programme on Tuesday in Abuja, said that the organisation would support countries’ efforts to ensure the success of the campaign.
Ghebreyesus said the overall implementation of the “Global Action Plan on Physical Activity and Health 2018 to 2030’’ earlier launched was also critical.
“We need leaders at all levels to help people to take the healthier step. This works best at city level, where most responsibility lies for creating healthier spaces.
“Worldwide, one in five adults and four out of five adolescents aged 11 to 17 years do not do enough physical activity.
“Girls, women, older adults, poor people, people with disabilities and chronic diseases, marginalised populations and indigenous people have fewer opportunities to be active.
“When the recommended policies in the WHO Global Action Plan are adopted by countries, more active societies and opportunities for people of all ages and abilities will be created.
“It would create the right ambience for people to do more walking, cycling, sport, active recreation, dance and play.
“You do not need to be a professional athlete to choose to be active. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator makes a difference or walking.
“Also, riding a bike instead of driving to your neighborhood bakery is recommended. It is the choices we make each time and every day that can keep us healthy,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the campaign tagged “Let’s Be Active: Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday” encourages governments and authorities to make it easier for people to be more physically active in order to be healthier.
The Global Action Plan is designed to bring global attention to the critical need for all to remain active in order to stay healthy.
According to WHO, regular physical activity plays a crucial role in the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, breast and colon cancer.
WHO estimates that NCDs are responsible for 71 per cent of all deaths globally, including the death of 15 million people per year aged 30 to 70 years.
The action plan recognised that in the modern world, staying active was becoming more of a challenge as cities and communities were not built or designed in the right way.
It showed how countries could reduce physical inactivity in adults and adolescents by 15 per cent by 2030.
WHO has recommended 20 policies, which when adopted by countries, would create more active environments.
The thrust of the 20-point policy calls for support in the training of healthcare workers and other professionals, stronger data systems as well as the use of digital technologies.
The organisation said physical inactivity was more than a health challenge as it had enormous financial implications for countries.
WHO estimates that globally, physical inactivity costs countries about 54 billion dollars in direct health care of which 57 per cent is incurred by the public sector.
The organisation further said that an additional 14 billion dollars was attributable to lost productivity.
However, the third UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on NCDs fixed for Sept. 27, 2018 in New York, is expected to address issues around physical inactivity and other causes of NCDs and mental disorders.