Problem: The substantial health benefits of physical activity (PA) are well established and include a reduction in the likelihood of developing several non-communicable diseases, improved physical function and potentially delays in the onset of disability, improved mental health and decreased risk of mortality. Despite these known benefits, rates of regular participation in physical activity are low. Understanding proven strategies for increasing physical activity is necessary to improve population PA levels. Methods: This paper reviewed recent comprehensive literature reviews examining evidence-based approaches for improving PA participation using a framework suggested by the United States Task Force for Preventive Services to describe effective strategies. Results: Community-wide campaigns and point-of-decision prompts are recommended to influence cognitions about PA. Behavioral approaches and social approaches including individually adapted health behavior programs, physical education programs in schools and social support based interventions in community settings are warranted. Environmental and policy-based approaches are necessary to increase population PA levels and suggested interventions include increasing access to places to be physically active, addressing community design, street and urban design and influencing transportation policies. Conclusion: Improving PA levels will require a multi-sectorial approach that addresses strategies across multiple levels with an emphasis on environmental and policy approaches.
- Chronic disease prevention
- Health promotion
- Physical activity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation