Sports Medicine

, Volume 45, Issue 6, pp 769–773 | Cite as

Time to Challenge Public Health Guidelines on Physical Activity

  • Philipe de Souto BarretoEmail author
Current Opinion


There is striking evidence in support of physical activity (PA) as a very strong factor in health promotion and disease prevention. Since the mid-1990s, public health guidelines on PA have established PA recommendations to promote health and prevent several non-communicable diseases (NCDs). However, it is not clear that there is universal agreement on the validity of all aspects of these recommendations. Indeed, a growing body of evidence has accumulated over the last 20 years showing that less than 150 min/week of moderate PA, i.e. the minimum PA level currently recommended, promotes health and prevents NCDs. Moreover, when determining whether someone achieves the minimum PA recommendations, the quantities of PA undertaken are added together regardless of what domain of PA they represent, i.e. leisure-time, occupational, transport or housework. However, while convincing evidence exists to show that leisure-time and transport PA are important factors for promoting health, the evidence for occupational PA and housework is mixed. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to discuss two major issues relating to public health guidelines on PA for adults and older adults: the minimum volumes of PA required and the importance of PA domains in health promotion. A proposal on how to tackle these issues and ultimately strengthen PA recommendations is also presented.


Physical Activity Physical Activity Guideline Moderate Physical Activity Physical Activity Recommendation Occupational Physical Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article. The author has no potential conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article. The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gerontopole of Toulouse, Institute of AgeingUniversity Hospital of Toulouse (CHU-Toulouse)ToulouseFrance
  2. 2.UMR INSERM 1027University of Toulouse IIIToulouseFrance
  3. 3.CNRS UMR 7268 Biocultural Anthropology, Law, Ethics and HealthAix-Marseille UniversityMarseilleFrance

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