Physical Activity: Civil Society Position Statements

Multiple non-governmental organisations acknowledge that every move counts.

They are united around the collective vision to incentivise physical activity at every stage of life, to prevent the rise in non-communicable diseases, and support active aging. Below, you will find position statements from different civil society organisations on physical activity.

International Society for Physical Activity and Health (INSPAH)

The International Society for Physical Activity and Health (INSPAH) is a global society of researchers and practitioner striving to promote physical activity across the life course. INSPAH's work is underpinned by a self-set global target to increase physical activity by 10% by 2025, and the motto to encourage individuals to "move more, site less." This in turn contributes to a vision of a healthy active world where opportunities for physical activity and active living are available to all. Their core activities encompass research, education, capacity building, and advocacy.

Policy extract: The Bangkok Declaration on physical activity for global health and sustainable development is the joint effort of both delegates and hosts of the 6th International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health in 2016. The position statement identifies opportunities for urgent prioritisation that will promote a reduction in physical activity, and in turn, contribute at scale to the fulfillment of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a cost-efficient and sustained way.

Read more.

NCD Alliance

The NCD Alliance aims "to unite and strengthen civil society to stimulate collaborative advocacy, action and accountability for NCD prevention and control. Our unique civil society network unites 2,000 organisations in more than 170 countries." 

Policy extract: NCD Alliance supports the World Cancer Research Fund International Statement to the 71st WHO World Health Assembly.

“The Global Action Plan on Physical Activity comes at a crucial time, with Member States preparing for the third UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs. Policies that promote physical activity are win-win, concurrently realising health and broader benefits to cities, environment, and communities especially in relation to reducing urban pollution in rapidly urbanising cities in LMICs.”

Read the statement here.

The International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE)

The International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) is a global professional non-governmental organisation promoting health globally. IUHPE has operated as an independent, global, professional network of people and institutions for over 65 years. The organisation encourages educational, community level and policy actions to support health and wellbeing.

Policy extract: Toronto Charter for Physical Activity – A Global Call for Action

‘The Toronto Charter for Physical Activity is a call for action and an advocacy tool to create sustainable opportunities for physically active lifestyles for all.’ Recognising that our environment is not conducive to sustained exercise on a weekly basis combined with the negative health, social and economic consequences of physical inactivity, the charter outlines actions based upon nine guiding principles for a population-based approach to encouraging physical activity.

Read more here.

UK Active

"UK Active exists to improve the health of the nation by getting more people, more active, more often. UK Active provides services and facilitates partnerships for a broad range of organisations, all of which support our vision and have a role to play in achieving that goal. We serve over 4,000 members and partners from across the public, private and third sectors, from multinational giants to local voluntary community groups."

Policy extract: ­Reimagining Aging | UK Active

"The UK’s ageing society presents an immense challenge to the UK and an opportunity for the physical activity sector. ­There is an urgent need to reimagine the concept of ageing in UK society, embedding the importance of an active lifestyle at its heart, and creating a society where the onset of ill-health, dependence, and frailty in older people is avoidable and manageable. ­e physical activity sector has a wealth of expertise, infrastructure, and capacity capable of delivering this aim."

Read the report to learn how to support healthy, active aging.

Access it here.

World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF)

WCRF International is a not-for-profit organisation that leads & unifies a network of cancer prevention charities with a global reach. Since it started in 1982, the WCRF network has been a pioneer in research and health information on the link between food, nutrition, physical activity, and the prevention of cancer. Their vision is to live in a world where no one develops preventable cancer.

Policy extract: The MOVING framework highlights where governments need to take action to get people, particularly youth and adolescents, more active.  The framework is comprised of four domains to help policymakers, researchers, and civil society organisations.

The MOVING database can be accessed here

World Medical Association (WMA)

"The World Medical Association (WMA) is an international organization representing physicians. The organization was created to ensure the independence of physicians, and to work for the highest possible standards of ethical behaviour and care by physicians, always. The purpose of the WMA is to serve humanity by endeavouring to achieve the highest international standards in Medical Education, Medical Science, Medical Art, and Medical Ethics, and Health Care for all people in the world."

Policy extract: WMA statement on obesity in children

The WMA acknowledges that childhood and adolescent obesity is a major public health concern requiring swift action to reverse disease prevalence and to address the societal risk factors attributed to childhood obesity. Their policy statement adopted by the 67th WMA General Assembly, Taipei, Taiwan in October 2016 highlights 17 recommendations to address obesity in children.

Read the full statement here.

Arthritis Research UK

Arthritis Research UK is a leading charity in the fight against arthritis.  As an organisation, they strive to create knowledge that changes the lives of people living with arthritis, fund pioneering and high-quality research, educate health care professionals, and provide information to people with arthritis and their caregivers.

Policy extract: Arthritis Research UK published a policy statement with guidance for national and local stakeholders to initiate and sustain coordinated action on physical activity. The statement highlights key recommendations for increasing access to and participation in exercise. The charity defines what physical activity is, including its role in the management and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions and the cost and impact of physical inactivity. Obesity is recognised as a risk factor for the development of such conditions.

Read more

Diabetes UK

Diabetes UK is the "leading charitable funder of diabetes research in the United Kingdom." They strive to "understand the causes of diabetes, bring life-changing breakthroughs in care, treatment, and prevention, and bring us closer to a cure."

Policy extract: "Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes Through Reducing Obesity"

In the United Kingdom, 67% of adults and 34% of children live with overweight or obesity, increasing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The position statement developed with the Obesity Health Alliance, Scottish Obesity Alliance, and Obesity Alliance Cymru supports the UK Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations around exercise and physical activity. The statement encourages education and awareness via campaigns to get people to move more and maintain a healthy weight. 

Read it here.

European Physical Education Association (EPEA)

"UPEA is a non-profit and Non-Governmental professional Organisation of national PE Associations. EUPEA promotes PE and School Sport in Europe by working with appropriate Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations and individual experts and professionals."

Policy extract: "Position Statement on Physical Education in schools, during the COVID-19 pandemic"

"EUPEA requests that Ministers, school leaders and teachers actively promote human development by assuring the quality of education (UNESCO Charter, 2015) during the Covid-19 crisis." The organisation recognitions the negative impact of physical inactivity on the social, emotional, and cognitive development of pupils.

Read EUPEA demands here.

Physical Activity Dossier

This page will be constantly updated with new studies as they come about. In the meantime, you can view our other elements of the physical activity dossier.

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