HEPA promotion in socially disadvantaged groups

There are notable differences in levels of sport participation and health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) between different socioeconomic and cultural subgroups in European countries. This working group aims to develop a greater understanding of ways to successfully engage disadvantaged communities in physical activity, and thus to achieve significant public health benefits. In addition, because physical activity engagement cannot be done in isolation, it aims to improve understanding of the wider social context and role of social capital in health.

Led by Ms Niamh Murphy, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland, and Ms Annemarie Wagemakers, Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands, the working group promotes discussion, resource sharing and information exchange to explore approaches and experiences of engaging disadvantaged individuals and groups in HEPA, to develop best-practice guidance for promoting physical activity within disadvantaged communities, and to explore the links between physical activity, social capital and resilience.

Members of the working group have also been involved in the joint WHO–European Commission Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO) project “Promoting networking and action on healthy and equitable environments for physical activity” (PHAN) and the development of principles for action on physical activity promotion in socially disadvantaged groups.

Current activities include promoting discussion on evaluation approaches for disadvantaged groups and fostering the integration of HEPA promotion within hard-to-reach groups in the approaches of other HEPA Europe working groups.

To join this activity, please contact HEPA Europe at hepaeurope@who.int