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Physical activity promotion in socially disadvantaged groups: principles for action

PHAN Work Package 4: Final Report

Over the past few years, physical activity promotion has increasingly been recognized in Europe as a priority for public health action and many countries have responded through the development of policies and interventions supporting physical activity. The WHO Regional Office for Europe undertook a project focusing on this public health challenge to support and further enhance evidence and networking. Since the accumulation of evidence shows that low levels of physical activity are often found in socially disadvantaged groups, one substantial element of the project was the development of guidance on promoting physical activity within disadvantaged communities, with a focus on the role of healthy environments.

This report presents the main conclusions of the project and provides – based on a review of evidence, case studies and national policies – suggestions for national and local action on interventions and policy formulation to support physical activity in socially disadvantaged groups. Acknowledging that the evidence base needs to be further strengthened, the report also identifies evidence gaps to be targeted by future research.

The report arises from the Physical Activity and Networking (PHAN) project co-funded by the Health Programme of the European Union. It was developed in close collaboration with the European network for the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA Europe).