Foreword from Fiona Bull, World Health Organization
Regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and treat non-communicable diseases ( NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and breast and colon cancer. It also helps prevent hypertension, overweight and obesity and can improve mental health, quality of life and well-being. Yet, much of the world is becoming less active.
The World Health Organization published 'More Active People for a Healthier World', the new Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030 in June 2018, to guide and support countries scale up policy actions to promote physical activity. It sets out four objectives and recommends 20 policy actions that are applicable to all countries, and address the cultural, environmental and individual determinants of inactivity.
I am delighted that Scotland is one of the forerunner countries to respond to this challenge by setting out its own plans to address these objectives. Crucially, the Active Scotland Delivery Plan presents a wide-ranging set of concrete actions across multiple sectors to encourage physical activity and reduce inactivity. It embraces many different approaches to physical activity – including walking, cycling, active recreation, sport, and play – and seeks to achieve the 'whole-of-system' approach WHO believes is necessary, working across, for example, the transport, education, health, and planning sectors.
The whole-of-community 'systems-based' approach is a key feature of the WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity and is reflected in the Active Scotland Delivery Plan. Effective implementation will require bold leadership combined with cross-government and multi-sectoral partnerships at all levels to achieve a coordinated response. I welcome Scotland's ambition to deliver a cross-government response, and commitment to partnership working as the way to achieve meaningful change in practice.
Sharing Scotland's experience of developing and implementing the actions in the Active Scotland Delivery Plan is important and I know will be valued by WHO and its Member States. Stronger international collaboration is needed if we are to achieve the WHO global target of a 15% relative reduction in the global prevalence of physical inactivity in adults and in adolescents by 2030.
I look forward to seeing Scotland progress in this important area and working with you to support and encourage people in Scotland to be more active, more often.
Dr Fiona Bull,
Prevention of Noncommunicable Disease World Health Organization