The Lancet (an independent medical journal) has produced a series (“Physical Activity 2016“) to update their 2012 findings. It seems the authors of this series care a lot. And yes, urban planning has a big role to play.
In 2012, The Lancet published its first Series on physical activity, which concluded that physical inactivity is as important a modifiable risk factor for chronic diseases as obesity and tobacco. Four years later, the second Series presents an update of the field, including progress in epidemiological research, global surveillance, intervention strategies, and policy actions. The papers will also feature the largest harmonised meta-analysis on the joint health effects of sedentary behaviour and physical activity, and the first global estimate of the economic burden of physical inactivity.
The Series encourages policy makers to take physical activity more seriously and to provide sufficient capacity and funding to implement national policies. Without a rapid increase in action, the WHO target of a 10% reduction in physical inactivity by 2025 will not be reached. We must continue to strive towards the longer term goal: the integration of physical activity into our daily lives.
The Series contains around 13 articles, perspectives and related content. Those I read required free registration but not payment.
Background: Since the publication of the ﬁrst Lancet Series on physical activity in 2012—which recognised physical inactivity as a global pandemic and urged all sectors of governments and societies to take immediate action— the demand for eﬀective strategies to increase population physical activity levels has grown. A substantial body of evidence resulting from decades of research in the ﬁelds of exercise physiology, public health, epidemiology, and the behavioural sciences has shown that physical activity has broad economic and health beneﬁts and that under scientiﬁcally controlled circumstances, behaviour change is achievable for increasing physical activity in diverse groups. . . .
. . . Urban planning and transportation policies should prioritise actions that promote safe, equitable, and environmentally friendly active mobility and leisure options for all citizens
Caution: this is rigorous scientific material, for the most part. Those with a low tolerance for depth and complexity, or for opinions contrary to their own, need not dig into any of it.