Recommendations for physical activity and physical activity promotion

Brief description of the project

The conceptual development of National Recommendations for Physical Activity and Physical Activity Promotion is a continuation and further development of existing activities within the framework of the IN FORM Initiative of the Federal Ministry of Health. The aims of the project were:

  • Linking up with the preparatory work already done in Germany for corresponding recommendations, in particular by the working group “Exercise in everyday life” at the BMG and the SMK Initiative on exercise recommendations;
  • Building on the international state of research and existing international and national recommendations for exercise and the promotion of physical activity;
  • Establishment of an innovative and independent profile with an integrated focus on recommendations for physical activity and recommendations for physical activity promotion as well as the systematic consideration of quality criteria and selected examples of good practice.

Problem background and level of knowledge

National recommendations for physical activity and physical activity promotion are an essential component of population-related health promotion and are currently on the political agenda of both the Federal Government (Federal Ministry of Health) and the federal states (Conference of Sports Ministers) as well as international organisations (European Commission, WHO).

In the last decade, increased efforts have been made to scientifically substantiate recommendations for physical activity that provide information on the health-effective type and dose of physical activity for different target groups in the population. Various countries (e.g. Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, USA) and international organisations (e.g. WHO 2010) have already adopted corresponding recommendations.

While recommendations for physical activity specify the targets for physical activity that has an effect on health, i.e. “what” is to be achieved, recommendations for the promotion of physical activity inform about “how” physical activity that has an effect on health can be supported in the population – e.g. through measures of individual empowerment, infrastructures that promote physical activity and targeted political support.

In this sense, for example, the European Commission has presented Physical Activity Guidelines (EU 2008), which propose a whole range of intersectoral approaches to promoting physical activity to the member states. With the latest decision of the Council of the European Union on the promotion of physical activity (EU 2013), the member states have committed themselves to implementing corresponding approaches.

Methodological approach

During the scientific conceptualization, three interrelated work complexes were worked on:

(A) Recommendations for physical activity
(B) Recommendations for the promotion of physical activity, and
(C) Examples of good practice.

Within areas A and B, the basic work steps each related to

(1) the review of national and international preparatory work
(2) the development of relevant quality criteria; and
(3) the formulation of recommendations.

On this conceptual basis, examples of good practice were systematically examined under C and their exemplary relevance for

(1) Target groups
(2) Approach to promoting physical activity, and
(3) Basic quality criteria of physical activity promotion.

Any further questions?

If you have any questions, the project staff will be happy to answer them by telephone or in person.

Period: 2015-2016
Project managers: Prof. Dr. Alfred Rütten, Prof. Dr. Klaus Pfeifer
Project staff: Dr. Karim Abu-OmarDr. Wolfgang Geidl, Sven MessingIonut Burlacu
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Health
Scientific partners: KIT Karlsruhe, DSHS Köln, Universität Frankfurt, Universität Münster