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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 106-107

Promotion of physical activity: A crucial strategy to delay the onset of noncommunicable diseases

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication7-Aug-2017

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjmsr.mjmsr_12_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Promotion of physical activity: A crucial strategy to delay the onset of noncommunicable diseases. Muller J Med Sci Res 2017;8:106-7

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Promotion of physical activity: A crucial strategy to delay the onset of noncommunicable diseases. Muller J Med Sci Res [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Mar 23];8:106-7. Available from: https://www.mjmsr.net/text.asp?2017/8/2/106/212408

Dear Editor,

Physical activity has been associated with important health-related benefits and a lack of the same is a major risk factor for the development of a wide range of noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.[1],[2] According to the global estimates available, it has been observed that less and less physical activity is occurring in many nations, as evidenced by the facts that 1 in 4 adults is not active enough, and more than four-fifths of the adolescents are insufficiently physically active.[1]

Standards for physical activity has been established by the World Health Organization (WHO) for different age-groups, namely, children and adolescents aged 5–17 years, and adults aged 18 years and above.[1],[2] In addition, muscle strengthening exercise has also been recommended or different age-groups.[1] Acknowledging the importance of physical activity in the development of many diseases, taking measures to indulge people in physical activity has been identified as a key strategy.[1],[2],[3]

In fact, according to the global action plan, the set target is to minimize physical inactivity by 10% by the year 2025.[4] However, the current status suggests that only 50% of the member states of the WHO have policies to address the public health concern of insufficient physical inactivity.[1] It is the responsibility of the nations and communities to provide individuals with more opportunities to be active, and this can be ensured by formulating and implementing policies in collaboration with associated sectors.[2],[3] At the same time, measures such as ensuring walking/cycling, or other forms of active transportation are accessible and safe for all, reforms in workplace policies to support physical activity, creating safe space in schools, and providing sports/recreational amenities for everyone, will play a significant role in enhancing the level of physical activity.[3],[4]

Furthermore, environmental attributes which can prevent people from being more active (such as fear of violence in outdoor areas, more traffic or pollution, lack of parks or sidewalks, or sports/recreational amenities) have also to be addressed on an urgent basis.[1],[2],[3] In addition, health education or awareness activities to explain about the benefits of being physically active should be carried out intensively.[4] Furthermore, strengthening of the surveillance mechanisms to systematically monitor physical activity, especially among schoolchildren should also be encouraged.[1],[4]

However, to improve the physical activity among rural areas, there is an immense need to invest to create recreational opportunities for rural populations (such as playgrounds and parks); negate barriers which can diminish physical activity such as isolation or climate or safety or transport constraints; develop infrastructure like broad pavements along the roads or school infrastructure; and implementation of creative and customized solutions for specific rural areas by involving the local population.[4],[5] In addition, specific measures for the vulnerable population groups (viz., differently-abled individuals, elderly, etc.), and to generate evidence to promote development of appropriate policies for better rural living environment, should be tried upon.[4],[5]

To conclude, physical activity plays a critical role in the development of many lifestyle diseases. However, considering the alarming low levels of physical activity among all the population groups, it is the need of the hour to focus our attention toward improving the existing trends.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Physical Activity - Fact Sheet No. 385; 2017. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs385/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Feb 27].  Back to cited text no. 1
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Physical inactivity and development of diabetes: An association worth to be explored. Biol Med 2016;8:e124.  Back to cited text no. 2
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Diseases of longevity: Scope of balanced diet and physical activity. Med J DY Patil Univ 2015;8:415-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
World Health Organization. Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020. Geneva: WHO Press; 2013. p. 1-26.  Back to cited text no. 4
Active Living Research. Promoting Active Living in Rural Communities; 2015. Available from: http://www.activelivingresearch.org/sites/default/files/ALR_Brief_RuralCommunities_Sept2015.pdf. [Last accessed on 2017 Apr 25].  Back to cited text no. 5


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