Public Policy Actions Needed to Promote Physical Activity

  • Bill Bellew
  • Adrian Bauman
  • Brian Martin
  • Fiona Bull
  • Victor Matsudo


Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and strategies to increase activity levels are as important to population health as smoking cessation, cholesterol control, or preventing obesity. The World Health Organization has identified that governments and non-government agencies have a central role in the creation of environments that facilitate physical activity changes by individuals, families, and communities. This article describes recent policy-related programs at a large-scale or national level to promote physical activity. This is proposed within a framework that codifies evidence-based policy actions, based on the International Physical Activity Recommendations. Examples are provided of current policy actions from diverse settings around the world. Finally, future policy directions needed for the promotion of physical activity are discussed and related research needs identified.


Physical activity Health policy Health promotion Disease prevention 



Thanks to Dr Tom Schmid, CDC Atlanta USA, for comments on an earlier draft of this paper.


The authors report no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bill Bellew
    • 1
  • Adrian Bauman
    • 2
  • Brian Martin
    • 3
  • Fiona Bull
    • 4
  • Victor Matsudo
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public HealthUniversity of Sydney 2006SydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Physical Activity and Health Unit, Institute for Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.School of Population HealthUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  5. 5.CELAFISCSSão Caetano Do SulBrazil

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