Dr João Breda receives the prestigious Gerlev Award 2017

On 6 May 2017 Dr João Breda, Head of the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases and Programme Manager for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, was awarded the Gerlev Award 2017 in recognition of his work in encouraging WHO Member States to adopt the Physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region 2016–2025.

Every year since 1978, the Gerlev Physical Education and Sports Academy in Denmark has recognized individuals or institutions in appreciation of their special efforts in shaping views on sport’s cultural position. It honours innovative approaches to promote the culture of sports and physical activity. It also encourages freedom of expression and democracy, and supports initiatives that challenge the established sports political agenda.

In his acceptance speech Dr Breda stated: “The Physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region 2016–2025 was the result of three years’ collaborative work between WHO, different sectors of governments, nongovernmental organizations, academia and civil society engaged in physical activity issues. The strategy provides an opportunity to increase physical activity levels among the population of the WHO European Region in an integrated way and through cooperation across sectors. This strategy was the first of its kind at WHO globally and is now being used as an example and an inspiration by other WHO regions.”

The president and chairman of the Gerlev Award Committee, Dr Finn Berggren, emphasized in his nomination speech: “For several years I have been following the dedicated work of Dr Breda. The founders of HEPA Europe – the European Network for Health Enhancing Physical Activity – established at the Gerlev Academy in 2006, all appreciate the way Dr Breda has promoted the importance of physical activity in daily life.”

Dr Joao Breda thanked the Gerlev Award Committee for this special award and donated the award money to the Children’s Cancer Foundation, a charity in Denmark.

Physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region 2016–2025

The Physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region 2016–2025 focuses on physical activity as a leading factor in health and well-being in the Region. It pays particular attention to the burden of noncommunicable diseases associated with insufficient activity levels and sedentary behaviour, and covers all forms of physical activity throughout the life-course. It aims to inspire governments and all relevant stakeholders to work towards increasing the level of physical activity among all citizens of the Region so that they have better and longer lives.