Global Observatory for Physical Activity

Global Observatory for Physical Activity

The Global Observatory for Physical Activity – GoPA! was created in response to a global call to action based on the five million deaths attributable to physical inactivity as described in the 2012 Lancet Physical Activity SeriesGoPA! is a global network of physical activity researchers, public health policy makers and practitioners founded in 2012, catalogues and analyzes global data physical activity and health.

The mission of GoPA! is to monitor physical activity surveillance, research and policy worldwide, with the ultimate goal of reducing the global burden of mortality and morbidity caused by physical inactivity.

GoPA! is a joint initiative of ISPAH and the Lancet Physical Activity Series Working Group. It is coordinated by a secretariat based at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel), Brazil. GoPA! is chaired by Professors Michael Pratt (UCSD) and Pedro Hallal (UFPeL), coordinated by Dr. Andrea Ramirez (Universidad de los Andes), and guided by an international steering committee. GoPA! has published data on physical activity surveillance, policy and research in 162 countries in the world as online “Country Cards”, in a global almanac, and as peer reviewed scientific publications.

Why global physical activity monitoring?  (messages from the Lancet Physical Activity Series 1 & 2)

  • Physical inactivity is a pandemic responsible for at least 5 million deaths per year
  • 1.3 million deaths could be averted if physical inactivity was reduced by 25%
  • Physical inactivity costs the world at least $ 68 billion per year in health system expenses and lost productivity.

The Global Observatory for Physical Activity presents the SECOND ROUND of physical activity PORTRAITS "COUNTRY CARDS" worldwide

The global community is not only facing the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the non-communicable diseases-NCDs one, to which more than 70% of deaths in adults worldwide are attributed. Vaccines can only prevent the first one. Physical activity-PA has been described as a “best buy” in public health, reducing the burden and risk of more than 20 NCDs, and, because of its immediate effects on immune function, with the potential to reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections. Monitoring surveillance, policy and research in physical activity globally can help tackle the burden of both the COVID-19 and NCDs pandemics.   

Last January 27th, the Global Observatory for Physical Activity – GoPA! published the second round of physical activity profiles around the world (available at With information from 162 countries available in English and with translations into 29 languages for specific countries, the publication presents country cards with detailed information on physical activity research, policy, and surveillance worldwide. The GoPA! Website includes 217 countries, of which 162 countries have a GoPA! local representatives, corresponding to a global coverage of 74.7%; 51.1% in AFRO; 59.1% in EMRO; 72.6% in EURO; 95.5% in PAHO; 72.7% in SEARO; and 96.8% in WPRO. The data showed that despite there has been progress in the main indicators over the last years, periodic and updated information is needed and will continue to be necessary for countries to achieve the World Health Organization global goal of a 15% reduction in the prevalence of physical inactivity among adults by 2030.

The Global Observatory for Physical Activity-GoPA! shows how crucial physical activity is for counteracting the health effects of non-communicable diseases and the potential contributions to the COVID-19 pandemic. The GoPA! national profiles, forcefully make the case for a real commitment to surveillance, research, and policy, elevating physical activity in the current and devastating public health arena.

Joining the Council

You can select to join the Global Observatory for Physical Activity (GoPA!) council as part of your ISPAH membership. If you are already an ISPAH member and would like to be a member, you can do so in your membership dashboard.

Andrea Ramirez Varela
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