Physical activity promotion and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: building synergies to maximize impact

Deborah Salvo*, Leandro Garcia, Rodrigo Reis, Ivana Stankov, Rahul Goel, Jasper Schipperijn, Pedro C. Hallal, Ding Ding, Michael Pratt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Many of the known solutions to the physical inactivity pandemic operate across sectors relevant to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Methods: The authors examined the contribution of physical activity promotion strategies toward achieving the SDGs through a conceptual linkage exercise, a scoping review, and an agent-based model.

Results: Possible benefits of physical activity promotion were identified for 15 of the 17 SDGs, with more robust evidence supporting benefits for SDGs 3 (good health and well-being), 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 13 (climate action), and 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions). Current evidence supports prioritizing at scale physical activity-promoting transport and urban design strategies and community-based programs. Expected physical activity gains are greater for low-and middle-income countries. In high-income countries with high car dependency, physical activity promotion strategies may help reduce air pollution and traffic-related deaths, but shifts toward more active forms of travel and recreation, and climate change mitigation, may require complementary policies that disincentivize driving.

Conclusions: The authors call for a synergistic approach to physical activity promotion and SDG achievement, involving multiple sectors beyond health around their goals and values, using physical activity promotion as a lever for a healthier planet.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Early online date13 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 13 Jul 2021

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