Physical Activity

The IUHPE collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC on how to best implement the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity & Health, as well as the broader agenda of developing public health action for physical activity and preventing non-communicable diseases. Non-governmental organisations (NGO), like the IUHPE and its collaborating networks, can play a central role in supporting physical activity promotion, addressing the challenges to promote physical activity and overcome barriers to action in countries and regions at varying levels of economic development.


This collaboration project aims to strengthen global and regional physical activity promotion and contribute to broader non-communicable diseases prevention and control by:

  • Ensuring a health promotion approach is integrated in all activities related to Physical Activity, linking it to mental health, social capital building, infrastructure development and empowerment, amongst others;

  • Contributing to making physical activity visible in a broader context of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention and control, health equity and development



Global Level

At the global level, the work focuses on advocating for physical activity and health, and ensuring that physical activity is addressed from a health promotion and public health perspective.


Global Advocacy for Physical Activity (GAPA)

The IUHPE actively contributes to and supports the work of the Global Advocacy for Physical Activity (GAPA) - Advocacy Council of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH).

ISPAH brings together professionals from cross-cutting disciplines (like exercise psychology, behavioral science, and public health) into one community interested in physical activity and health. The ISPAH provides an international voice to advance physical activity and health through the scientific study and the promotion of physical activity.

Formed in 2005 (under the name Global Alliance for Physical Activity), GAPA aims is to increase government commitment to physical activity by providing and delivering enabling policies, services, environments and programmes via advocacy strategies, global communication, network development and partnerships. GAPA also contributes to the broader goals and mission of ISPAH.



The IUHPE actively contributes to one of the principal mission of GAPA, which is to develop advocay tools.

A number of resources and documents were developed and are available on the Physical Activity section of the IUHPE compilation of important resources for health promotion


Other advocacy activites includes (examples):


Southwest Pacific

The work is led by the Center for Physical Activity and Health at the University of Sydney (Australia), which coordinates the Asia Pacific Physical Activity Network (AP-PAN).

AP-PAN was launched in 2006 to ensure a culturally and contextually adapted approach to physical activity promotion in the region. The main objectives of the network include:

  • Fostering communications and share information across network members

  • Disseminating updated information on population-level physical activity prevalence, policies, programmes and guidelines

  • Providing evidence-based reviews and technical support (e.g. evaluation / surveillance issues, best practice in physical activity programs and policies)

AP-PAN is also actively involved in the development of the regular global physical activity information service via an e-news and website - Global-PA-net, based on the successful experience of the Australian model Aus-PA-net.


 Latin America

The work is led by Agita Mundo network and the Physical Activity Network of the Americas (RAFA/PANA), which aim to strengthen existing national physical activity networks in Latin America and bring them together in a regional network to exchange knowledge and experiences.


World Day for Physical Activity

Every year, in April, the Agita Mundo network organizes the World Day for Physical Activity to raise awareness around physical activity and health. In the last years, more than 6.000 events happened all around the world and in 2008 more than 6.700 people in 2.900 events all around the globe were mobilizied.


International courses on physical activity and public health

Physical activity promotion inititatives in Latin America have an important capacity building component. Either once or twice every year, an international training course on physical activity and public health takes place in a different country in Latin America. These courses bring together leading international experts in physical activity-related disciplines to train between 20 and 30 individuals on how to best implement, measure and evaluate physical activity promotion programmes and policies. Speakers, background material and course schedules are available on the course's website.

Physical Activity and the built environment

Latin America has and continues to experience rapid urbanisation, with the magnitude and pattern of inactivity and other detrimental factors to health on the rise as a consequence. Environmental health is a major component of health promotion and represents another key dimension of the work under this collaboration, which aims to support intersectoral interventions to address NCDs in low- and middle-income countries, with a particular focus on Colombia.


Visit the page of IUHPE programme in Environmental health for further information on these efforts.



The work in Africa is led by the informal network African Physical Activity Network (AFPAN).

Launched in 2007, APFAN joins forces to advocate for physical activity as an entry point to health promotion and non-communicable disease control and prevention in Africa.

In November 2010, the AFPAN network was formally introduced as part of the East African pre-University Games Symposium in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2011, AFPAN plans include a virtual meeting and developing terms of reference and a modest programme of work including a best practice repository for programmes in the African region. AFPAN plans to have a rotating chair to enable countries across Africa to play a prominent role in the development and growth of AFPAN.