Physical activity to reduce non-communicable diseases

WFSGI recommends World Health Organization to propel physical activity to reduce non-communicable diseases

PRESS RELEASE #02 / 2013



The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) is the sport industry’s voice towards the World Health Organization (WHO) and submitted – on behalf of the sporting goods industry – its comments to the WHO consultation on the revised draft (version dated 11 February 2013) of the Global Action Plan (GAP) for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) 2013-2020.

As stated in the previous submission paper of October 2012, the WFSGI and sporting goods industry see it as very important to not only to include physical activity in the 2013-2020 GAP but to set measures for evaluation and execution of GAP 2013-2020. We recommend to propel physical activity in its largest form for the control and prevention of NCDs. Not only the development of national targets and indicators are a must but we expect, building on guidance provided by WHO, to address the impacts of non-communicable diseases and to oblige/impose clear actions on national level. This statement comes forth out of the past experiences and we understand that you cannot be satisfied with the results from the previous Global Action Plan around physical activity (as NCDs did not show a decrease). We sincerely hope and support that the 2013-2020 GAP will see a much better outcome. 

To do so, we explicitly support the reduction of physical inactivity as one of the four leading risk factors in the revised Global Action Plan. On the other hand it shall be questioned if a 10% decrease of physical inactivity is the right target? We have strong doubts that this will be enough to stop the actual development of NCDs. We see the need to reduce physical inactivity by 50% and even then we will have enough challenges to reduce NCDs, as the negative trend has not stopped yet and more people will be inactive in the next years. Let us refer here to the latest report from “Designed to move” to understand the financial consequences for society. Today physical activity is not well implemented for the prevention of NCDs, but knowing the recognition and the results it should be considered as a long-term and sustainable collective effort to create conditions for the entire population to being physically active and this should, with a focus on young children and adolescents, be extended to every age group with the opportunities to increase the physical activity. 

Unfortunately physical activity is not controlled or managed solely by the health departments (at UN or at government level) and there is very little cross over or exchange at United Nations and government level when it comes to collaboration. There is a serious and urgent need that the UN agencies and government ministries collaborate more actively to obtain the necessary results to reduce physical inactivity as well as to limit the huge financial burden that NCDs and physical inactivity will give to our society at large. In addition, it is hard to believe that the WHO has to work with a 3 persons department to handle the 4th biggest risk factor in NCDs.