Putting Physical Activity on the Policy Agenda

Catherine B. Woods*, Nanette Mutrie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to outline why physical activity policy is important in terms of promoting population based increases in physical activity. The promotion of physical activity through public policy happens globally and nationally, however to be successful it should also happen at state and local levels. We outline the rationale for the promotion of physical activity and the decrease of inactivity from a public health perspective. The World Health Organization guidelines for physical activity are then presented, followed by current physical activity prevalence rates in Europe and the US. We offer a description of what physical activity policy is and the key criteria for inclusion in order to increase the likelihood of its success. Finally, we present two case studies in relation to physical activity policy from Scotland and Ireland. Throughout we discuss how education and physical education could benefit from such policies, or be hindered by lack of relevant policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-104
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • physical activity
  • policy
  • public health
  • physical education


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