On the move – national strategy for physical activity promoting health and wellbeing 2020.

At the beginning of the 21st century an intensive and effective cross-sectoral cooperation has been achieved on actions to promote health-enhancing physical activity, and it will be intensified further as a result of the preparation of the present national strategy. The Government Resolutions on policies to develop health-enhancing physical activity (2002 and 2008) have served as a good basis for the national actions to promote health-enhancing physical activity. The aim of the preparation of the national strategy has been to achieve an even deeper and more concrete approach and a strong commitment among the stakeholders both during the work and in future. The vision of the strategy up to the year 2020 is that Finns will pursue more physical activity and sit less during the course of their lives. The vision highlights the following elements:

1) The importance of exercise and physical activity as a basic prerequisite for individuals’ and society’s health, wellbeing and competitiveness is understood. 2) The different administrative branches and organisations will create the opportunities for a physically active life. 3) Promotion of physical activity is based on partnerships between stakeholders, effective structures and good leadership. 4) Factors contributory to gender equality and equal treatment will be identified and impacted on effectively. 5) Individuals will take advantage of the improved opportunities to increase their daily physical activity. 6) Finland will be an increasingly stronger model country for physical activity culture in Europe.

The following four guidelines have been chosen to promote physical activity that enhances people’s health and wellbeing:
Guideline 1. Reducing sitting in daily life in the course of life.
Guideline 2. Increasing physical activity in the course of life.
Guideline 3. Highlighting physical activity as a vital element in enhancing health and wellbeing, prevention and treatment of diseases and in rehabilitation.
Guideline 4. Strengthening the status of physical activity in Finnish society.

The guidelines are aimed at activation in particular of persons who take too little physical activity for their health and wellbeing and changing the operational culture of organisations so as to encourage people’s physical activity at the different stages of their lifespan. Furthermore, targeted actions will be aimed at such target groups whose physical inactivity we should be most concerned about and in regard to which development measures have been scarce. Such are children under school age and their families; children, young people and families with children in the most vulnerable socioeconomic position; young people at upper secondary level schools; students in vocational education; the ageing working population; and older people living at home.

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