World Health Day 2002 – Move for health

“Physical activity should be acknowledged as a pillar of a healthy lifestyle and integrated into the routine of everyday living. A simple way of doing it would be walking and cycling for short journeys. The secret is encapsulated in 30 minutes of movement on an average day.”
Marc Danzon, WHO Regional Director for Europe (2000-2010)

World Health Day 2002 aims to raise awareness of the need for regular physical activity to improve health. For the European Region, the focus was on highlighting the benefits of transport as a way of undertaking daily physical activity.

The World Health Organization defines physical activity as “all movements in everyday life, including work, recreation, exercise and sporting activities”. Physical activity is a broad term for activities that range in intensity from taking the stairs regularly, dancing and walking briskly to jogging, cycling and taking part in sports. Physical activity need not be strenuous to be beneficial.

Incorporating transport as a means of physical activity into everyday life has several positive effects on health:

  • direct effects, including benefits to health of using physically active modes of transport; and
  • indirect benefits from, for example, a decrease in air pollution owing to a reduction in motor traffic, and land-use planning policies that facilitate walking and cycling.

From childhood to old age, physical activity is the foundation of healthy living and a pledge for the future.