Sala de Imprensa


Defesa de tese: Vigilância, política e pesquisa em atividade física no mundo observatório global de atividade física – GoPA!

Título: Worldwide research, surveillance and policy on physical activity: the global observatory for physical activity – GoPA!


Local: Auditório Prédio B 



Banca: Inácio Crochemore Mohnsam da Silva, UFPel, Daniel Umpierre de Moraes, UFPel e Harold W Kohl, University of Texas, Austin, USA .

Orientador: Pedro Curi Hallal

Apresentador: Andrea Ramirez Varela


              Physical inactivity is one of the four main risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCD). However, an observatory dedicated to the assessment of physical activity worldwide did not exist. Country level data collection together with high quality locally applicable research and monitoring are essential to inform policy and planning of interventions at the population level. In 2012, the Global Observatory for Physical Activity – GoPA! was launched in response to this urgent call for action, becoming a worldwide response to a worldwide problem.  The rationale behind the creation of the Global Observatory for Physical Activity was to provide information that enabled countries to initiate or improve surveillance systems, policy making and program development in the area of physical activity.

As countries needed to determine and monitor their status of physical activity in order to foster the improvement of physical activity levels in their population, GoPA! created the “Country Cards”, a summary document with national indicators of physical activity including research, surveillance, policy and health outcomes. The first set of Country Cards displayed national profiles in a publicly accessible, all-inclusive manner.


"Having the profile of each country is the starting point. The cards are user friendly tools to forcefully make the case for real commitment with physical activity surveillance, research and policy" says epidemiologist and project leader,

Pedro Curi Hallal, from Brazil.


A standardized methodology for data collection facilitated the comparison of indicators between countries and regions, and provided an unprecedented overview of physical activity and public health around the world. Country Cards as advocacy tools help countries moving towards a more physically active society. From the standardized methodology for data collection, countries are ranked by their physical activity status that can be used to monitor progress in prevalence, surveillance, policy, research and health outcomes of physical activity over time.

In 2016 GoPA! obtained, confirmed and published data from 139 (64%) of the world’s 217 countries, representing a global coverage of 85.4% based on the world´s population in 2013 and a regional coverage as follows: 28.3% in Africa, 28.3% in Eastern Mediterranean, 66.1% in Europe, 77.3% in the Americas and the Caribbean, 81.8% in South East Asia and 93.5% in the Western Pacific. An almanac was launched with these Country Cards (available in English and 31 languages for individual country-specific cards at:  http://www.globalphysicalactivityobservatory.com/).

Main findings of the first set of Cards included: 1) Physical inactivity was highly prevalent in all regions of the world, in rich and poor countries; 2) Worldwide, around 30% of adults were physical inactive; 3) Although most countries had at least one survey on physical activity, less than a quarter had ongoing public health monitoring of physical activity; 4) 37 countries had specific national plans for physical activity and another 65 include substantive attention to physical activity within their national non-communicable disease prevention or health promotion plans; 5) In 2013, papers on physical activity from 105 countries were published. However, 51% of these publications came from the United States, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. Brazil and China are the only low and middle-income countries in the top 20 for research publications on physical activity and health.


Since the launch in 2015, Country Cards were meant to be used as advocacy tools, to stimulate discussion on physical activity surveillance and research and to guide policy. The relevance and usefulness of GoPA! Country Cards was associated knowing about the GoPA! Country Cards, living in low- and middle-income countries, and on the stage of country capacity for physical activity promotion. Further refinement of the cards and training in their use were also identified as potential and relevant tools for advancing country capacity for physical activity promotion and may prove to be a critical strategy in countries low or no local capacity.

Specific information related to historical trends and patters of publications in the field showed that  even though the physical activity and health research area has had a tremendous growth in the last 60 years with 70% of the world’s countries having at least one publication in the area, there is an unequal distribution of research productivity by world region and income level, particularly in countries with the highest burden due to preventable non-communicable diseases and to physical inactivity exist. Worldwide physical activity research between 1950-2016 vary substantially by geographic area and by income group, with more than a 20-fold difference in publications per 100,00 inhabitants between high and low income countries, with less than 5% of the world’s population living in the countries with the highest research productivity. Trends and patterns in physical activity and health research gaps were identified, providing important information for guiding actions to optimize physical activity promotion, surveillance and research efforts at the national, regional, and global levels.

Despite the simplicity of the indicators and some significant data gaps, Country Cards represent a relevant strategy for the promotion of physical activity, research, policy and surveillance specifically in countries with limited local capacity, lack of data or where physical inactivity as a public health problem has not been fully recognized.

In the next years GoPA! will continue having an important role periodically reporting on country level progress and the potential for stimulating research, capacity building, and advocacy at the national and global levels.


“GoPA! showed the need of global and regular surveillance of physical activity research particularly in countries with largest data gaps” says epidemiologist and project coordinator, Andrea Ramirez Varela, from Colombia and Brazil.

Fonte: PPGE


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Programa de Pós-Graduação em Epidemiologia - Centro de Pesquisas Epidemiológicas