Document Type

Article

Subject Area(s)

Public Health

Abstract

This symposium highlighted the position of physical activity as one of the most important factors causally related to common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and discussed the need for including physical activity in comprehensive prevention strategies and policies to combat the major NCDs. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity are all major risk factors for ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and several cancers, and physical inactivity globally ranks as the fourth leading risk factor for mortality. Despite the solid evidence that physical activity is related to several NCDs, stronger advocacy actions are required because physical activity is not viewed as a national priority in most countries. Much progress has been made on physical activity surveillance as well as the development of national policies, action plans and physical activity guidelines. However, in most countries there is a need for more workforce development across all sectors and robust evaluation of actions to build the evidence base on program effectiveness.

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