Vienna Declaration on NCDs followup: 1st European strategy for physical activity


International experts and country representatives kick off the development of the first European strategy for physical activity in Erlangen, Germany.

The "Vienna Declaration on Nutrition and Noncommunicable Diseases in the Context of Health 2020" provided a strong mandate for developing a physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region. A working group started the development process of the strategy on 25 and 26 March 2014 at Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU) in Erlangen, Germany. Participants included representatives of eleven Member States, select experts for physical activity, and staff members of WHO Headquarters and the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Life-course of the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

The working group discussed the basic outlook of the strategy in the context of Health 2020, the evidence base for physical activity, goals and implementation instruments, and a road map for the further development process. Following consultations with Member States and civil society, the strategy is scheduled to be presented to the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Vilnius, Lithuania, in September 2015.

Despite the known health benefits of physical activity, the share of insufficiently active people continues to grow in many countries of the WHO European Region. Physical activity is known to have a positive influence on important risk factors for many noncommunicable diseases, and is associated with positive mental health, healthy growth in young people and healthy aging. According to WHO estimates, physical inactivity affects an average of 36.0% of adults (15 or more years of age) in the European Region, with figures exceeding 65% in some Member States.