Physical activity recommendations for public health: development and policy context

EPMA J. 2011 Sep;2(3):253-9. doi: 10.1007/s13167-011-0090-1. Epub 2011 Jun 8.


Physical activity recommendations summarise the evidence on how much and what kind of physical activity enhance health and suggest target activity levels for different population groups. According to the recommendations by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and WHO children and youth are advised to do at least 1 h of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day. Adults and older adults are recommended to do a minimum of 150 min moderate-intensity or 75 min vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or their equivalent combination per week, and muscle-strengthening activities. The physical activity recommendations are population-targeted guidelines and exploit primarily the potential of disease prevention. The recommendations form a solid foundation for promotional policies, programmes, interventions, and counselling. Many European countries have included physical activity in their national health and other policies, but there remains a need to adopt the newest physical activity recommendations nationally and to design national physical activity plans.