Minister De Weever supports initiative of PAHO/WHO & Sports Industry to promote physical activity

Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Hon. Cornelius de Weever fully supports the collaborative efforts of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) and members of the World Federation of Sporting Goods and the Sport and Fitness Industry Association met to discuss action to promote physical activity and active living in the Americas.


The region of the Americas is the most overweight and least active in terms of physical activity of any WHO Region, and it is a reality, that the aforementioned need to join together to prevent and control the effects of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The participants in a recent meeting at PAHO headquarters agreed on the need for joint action to address and reverse the health consequences of physical inactivity, particularly among children.

The meeting helped define joint efforts going forward as well as mechanisms for expanding existing efforts. Physical inactivity, as a main risk factor, is estimated to be responsible for some 21-25 per cent of breast and colon cancers, 27 per cent of diabetes and approximately 30 per cent of ischemic heart disease.

Efforts to promote physical activity among children can yield long-term results. If children get into the habit of physical activity, as adults they will be more committed to it throughout their lives.

The meeting was held within the framework of the Pan American Forum of Action on NCDs, a platform for multi-sectoral dialog and alliance building that was created by PAHO in response to the mandates of its Member States and the United Nations High Level Meeting on NCDs of 2011, which called for efforts to address the growing epidemic of NCD globally and in the Americas.

Raising levels of physical activity in the population has never been more urgent or critical than now. According to PAHO a global goal has been set of increasing physical activity in the population by 10 per cent by the year 2020.

Representatives from the following companies, Nike, Adidas, Advanced Sport, Asics, Ispo, New Balance, Pentland/Speedo, Reebok, Rollerblade USA and Under Armour presented efforts their companies are carrying out to promote physical activity, including races, walks, school programs, breast cancer, education, and initiatives to promote swimming, self-esteem among children, health work places, and empowerment of athletes, among others.