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Public consultation on draft WHO physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines

The World Health Organization has launched a public consultation on its draft physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines. It is being conducted to enable the wider scientific and public health community, as well as end users of the final guidelines, including civil society and the community, to review the draft recommendations and provide comments. The consultation is particularly interested in feedback on the relevance and importance of these guidelines, the resource implications and if implementing these will benefit all in society.

Physical inactivity has been identified as a leading risk factor for global mortality and a contributor to the rise in overweight and obesity. In 2010, WHO published Global recommendations on physical activity for health which detailed interventions for the primary prevention of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) through physical activity at population level. The recommendations specified the different types, frequency and duration of physical activity for optimal health benefits for three population-age groups: youth 6-<18years, adults 18-65 years and older adults >65 years. The 2010 guidelines provided only general guidance on the risks of sedentary behaviour due to insufficient evidence to guide more specific statements at the time.

Over the last ten years there has been a large increase in the evidence on the health impacts of different types, amounts and durations of physical activity and  on the health impacts of sedentary behaviours, as well as the interrelationship with levels of physical activity and health outcomes. Particular areas of new evidence include the impact of physical activity on mental wellbeing and cognitive health outcomes, health outcomes in older adults and in children under the age of five years. There is also increasing recognition of the importance of physical activity guidelines that are relevant and inclusive of people living with disability.