Table 1

Examples of evidence-based physical activity initiatives included in the Sheffield NCSEM work programme (based on [6]).

Initiative

Brief description


1. 'Whole-of-school' progammes

Involves prioritising: regular, highly-active physical education classes; providing suitable environments and resources to support structured and unstructured physical activity throughout the day; supporting walk/cycle-to-school programmes and enabling all of these actions through supportive school policy and engaging staff, students, parents and the wider community.


2. 'Active transport' policies and systems

Increasing 'active transport' through the development and implementation of policies influencing land use and access to footpaths, bikeways and public transport, in combination with effective promotional programmes to encourage and support walking, cycling and use of public transport for travel purposes.


3. Transforming urban environments

Urban planning and design regulations should require mixed-use zoning that places shops, services, and jobs near homes, as well as highly connected street networks that make it easy for people to walk and cycle to destinations. Access to public open space and green areas with appropriate recreation facilities for all age groups are needed to support active recreation. Complete networks of footpaths, bikeways, and public transit support both active travel and active recreation.


4. Physical activity and non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention integrated into primary health care systems

Health care systems should include physical activity as an explicit element of regular behavioural risk factor screening for NCD prevention, patient education and referral. Positive messages about physical activity are important for primary and secondary prevention. Opportunities for NCD prevention should be integrated with communicable disease management systems, tailored to the context and resources available. The focus should be on practical brief advice and links to community-based support for behaviour change.


5. Public education, including mass media to raise awareness and change social norms on physical activity

Both paid and non-paid forms of media can be used to raise awareness, increase knowledge, shift community norms and values and motivate the population to be more active.


6. Community-wide programmes that mobilise and integrate community engagement and resources

Using key settings, such as cities, local governments, schools and workplaces provides the opportunity to integrate policies, programmes and public education aimed at encouraging physical activity. Whole-of-community approaches where people live, work and recreate have the opportunity to mobilise large numbers of people.


7. 'Sport for all' programmes

Building on the universal appeal of sport, a comprehensive sport system should be implemented that includes the adaption of sports to provide a range of activities to match the interests of men and women, girls and boys of all ages, in addition to well-coordinated coaching and training opportunities. However, providing enjoyable physical activity needs to be an explicit priority of sports programmes.


NCD, non-communicable disease; NCSEM, National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.

Tew et al. BMC Medicine 2012 10:74   doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-74

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