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24 May 2021

World Health Organization steps up policymaking for physical activity sector
BY Tom Walker

Recommendations arising from the webinar series will inform WHO future policy

Recommendations arising from the webinar series will inform WHO future policy
photo: Shutterstock/LightField Studios

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a webinar series to explore the future of physical activity and sport in a world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consisting of eight webinars, the programme will involve industry leaders discussing the practical actions needed during COVID-19 recovery under the title reINVENT & reBUILD: Working together for a stronger, fairer and more inclusive physical activity and sport system for all.

Recommendations arising from the webinar series will inform WHO and stakeholders' future policy and practice.

During the talks, which will run from May to September 2021, four emerging and interconnected challenges will be explored to identify practical actions: innovation, partnership, use of evidence, and accountability and investment.

The first webinar, taking place on Thursday 27 May, is titled Build forward stronger: opportunities for exercise, fitness and health.

Led by moderator Amanda Harding (Convene) and chair Fiona Bull (WHO), the panels will discuss how the sector can best engage more people to be more active, the opportunities to build better links between health and fitness sectors and how the new exercise and fitness workforce need to look.

Those taking part include Andreas Paulsen (EuropeActive), Anna Szumilewicz (Gdansk University), Jürgen Steinaker (Global Exercise), Steven Ward (GO fit) and Hugo Braam (Virtuagym).

Fiona Bull said: "COVID-19 has impacted on how, where and when people can be physically active and play sport, disrupting access to facilities, clubs, community programmes and services.

"It has increased the importance of being active for mental and physical health and yet exacerbated inequalities.

"Many now call for COVID-19 to be a catalyst for change and an opportunity to build forward better a stronger, fairer and more inclusive system that provides equitable opportunities for more people of all ages and abilities, everywhere.

"Through a series of eight webinars, involving panellists from across the sport and physical activity sector and audience Q&A, we will explore different dimensions of what it will take to build back better."

All webinars are open to public and professionals across the physical activity and sport sector, including exercise, fitness, sport, physical activity, primary health care and public health from across public, private and social enterprises.

• For more information and to register for the webinars, click here.

• Read HCM's interview with Dr Fiona Bull here.




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