World Heart Federation
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To unite efforts for change in global physical activity levels, GAPA and the organizing Committee of the 3rd International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health created and launched the Toronto Charter for Physical Activity at the congress last May, resulting in its ratification. The Charter was initiated in response to a need for policy change to prevent the burden associated with physical inactivity, which has been identified as the fourth leading cause of chronic disease mortality such as heart disease, stroke and cancers, and is estimated to account for 6% of global mortality. Since its launch, over 600 organizations and individuals have registered their support for the Charter and it has been translated into nine languages with 10 more translations planned.

The Toronto Charter: a call to action and advocacy tool

The Toronto Charter is a call to action by policymakers and programme managers worldwide and an advocacy tool which aims to provide guidance to create sustainable opportunities for individuals to lead physically active lifestyles. The implementation of a national policy and action plan, introduction of policies that support physical activity, re-orientation of services and funding to prioritize physical activity and development of partnerships for action are the key priorities of the Charter. These require the integrated efforts of governments, the private sector, academic institutions, civil society, professional associations and the community.

Sharing evidence and adopting a holistic approach

Trevor Shilton is Director of Cardiovascular Health with the National Heart Foundation in Western Australia, Deputy Chair of GAPA, and is a co-author of the Charter. He notes that “in order for this charter to have a maximum impact it needs to be used to convince nations that physical activity plays a primary role in preventing heart disease and stroke, diabetes, cancers and other non-communicable diseases”. He continues: “By investing in the comprehensive approaches to physical activity advocated in the Charter, nations can achieve further economic gains, sustainability and social policy benefits beyond health”.

World Heart Federation: Promoting physical activity

The World Heart Federation has signed the Toronto Charter and urges its members to sign it, promote it among groups and individuals who are committed to increasing physical activity, and use it as a framework for advocacy.

Download and/or register your support for the charter >

More information about the Global Alliance for Physical Activity >

To connect with Deputy Chair of GAPA and co-author of the Toronto Charter email Trevor Shilton >

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