Africa is facing an increasing burden of noncommunicable diseases. The lack of physical activity is a risk factor for most of them.
Research on physical inactivity trends in Africa is limited. But evidence suggests that as countries undergo transitions such as increased urbanization, physical activity levels may decline.
But in Africa, the health agenda is dominated by pressing issues such as infectious diseases and food insecurity. Given these competing priorities and the absence of physical activity policies, African countries need to know which strategies to invest in.
Encouraging physical activity should be a priority. Being physically active is not entirely an individual choice, but a result of what funds, spaces, places and opportunities are available to the individual and communities. This is why governments and leaders have a role to play.
To assist governments looking to boost physical activity, we at the International Society for Physical Activity and Health, offer eight key areas for investment. These are based on global evidence of what works. Our aim is to assist governments to meet targets set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Decades of research highlight that no single solution will increase population levels of physical activity, which have declined and stagnated over the last 50 years. That’s why our reinvestment suggestions cover a range of settings and government departments. Multiple departments, including transport, education, sport and health, need to work together.
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