The first global physical activity and sedentary behavior guidelines for people living with disability

Catherine Carty, Hidde P. van der Ploeg, Stuart J. H. Biddle, Fiona Bull, Juana F. Willumsen, Lindsay Lee, Kaloyan Kamenov, Karen Milton

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Background: The World Health Organization has released the first global public health guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior for people living with disability. This paper presents the guidelines, related processes, and evidence, and elaborates upon how the guidelines can support inclusive policy, practice, and research. Methods: Methods were consistent with the World Health Organization protocols for developing guidelines. Systematic reviews of the evidence on physical activity for health for people living with disability were appraised, along with a consideration of the evidence used to inform the general 2020 World Health Organization guidelines. Results: Evidence supported the development of recommendations for people living with disability, stressing that there are no major risks to engaging in physical activity appropriate to an individual's current activity level, health status, and physical function, and that the health benefits accrued generally outweigh the risks. They also emphasize the benefits of limiting sedentary behavior. Conclusions: The guidelines mark a positive step forward for disability inclusion, but considerable effort is needed to advance the agenda. This paper highlights key considerations for the implementation of the new recommendations for people living with disability, in line with the human rights agenda underpinning the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030 and allied policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-93
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2021


  • Human rights
  • Mainstream inclusion
  • Public health
  • Recommendations
  • Sustainable development

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