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New partnership: The Prospective Physical Activity, Sitting and Sleep consortium (ProPASS) & the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH)

New partnership: The Prospective Physical Activity, Sitting and Sleep consortium (ProPASS) & the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH)

A new partnership between ISPAH and ProPASS to address critical gaps in the evidence base for global and national guideline development for physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

ISPAH and ProPASS are entering an exciting long-term partnership aimed at addressing critical gaps in the evidence base on the health effects of physical activity and sedentary behaviour that is used for global and national guidelines development. The partnership with ProPASS is the first research-focused ISPAH initiative of its kind.

Why is this partnership needed?

To date, the vast majority of research used for public health and clinical guidelines development comes from prospective cohort studies carried out in high-income countries.

The ISPAH-ProPASS partnership stands at the intersection of ISPAH’s goal to “develop capacity in research and practice on physical activity and public health worldwide” and ProPASS’ core objectives, which include the generation of device-based evidence across all WHO regions using state of the art research methods.

The partnership is specifically geared towards expanding the geographical coverage and relevance of physical activity research, and addressing a number of important knowledge gaps prior to the next review and update of global and national physical activity guidelines, which are due towards the end of this decade (~2030).

What are the two key themes of the partnership?

Theme 1 is aimed at supporting ProPASS’ expansion to under-represented countries and populations, such as low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and lower socioeconomic and minority groups. This theme will involve joint initiatives to build research capacity for cohort studies and strong multidisciplinary collaborations, particularly in LMICs.

Theme 2 is to develop and adopt feasible and scalable research methods for use in large-scale cohort research, and potentially health surveillance (e.g., through ProPASS’ sister Surveillance of Physical Activity, Sitting, and Sleep initiative (SurPASS).

Among other collaborative activities, both partnership themes will involve organising joint symposia, training events, networking and knowledge exchange schemes, early-career-focused activities, and multisectoral forums for engaging with relevant organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and industry.

This is a dynamic and evidence needs-driven partnership, the content of which will be reviewed every two years, with the view to updating and expanding its scope when necessary.

Reflections from ISPAH and ProPASS

ISPAH’s President, Prof. Jasper Schipperijn (University of Southern Denmark), highlighted the importance of this partnership for ISPAH and physical activity research: “This new partnership provides unique opportunities to develop physical activity research capacity in LMICs and extend the evidence base, which is currently dominated by studies in high-income countries“.

ProPASS’ lead, Prof. Emmanuel Stamatakis (University of Sydney), outlined his vision for the partnership: “This partnership is a landmark event for ProPASS which, no doubt, will be a big catalyst for realising our ambitious goals. We thank ISPAH for their support and we look forward to working together to set the foundations of a more robust, inclusive, globally representative, and easy-to-translate evidence base for maximising the health benefits of physical activity for people from all countries and socioeconomic backgrounds.”

The inaugural joint activity arising from this partnership will be ProPASS’ Annual Conference, which will take place on 27-28 April 2022, where ISPAH will co-host the 2nd day. For more details, please check the ProPASS website and to register for the event, please follow this link.

Lead author: Andrea Lammel; co-authors Karen Milton and Matthew ‘Tepi’ Mclaughlin

Who are ISPAH and ProPASS?

ISPAH is the leading international society for physical activity, with membership across more than 50 countries. ISPAH aims to advance and promote physical activity as a global health priority through excellence in science, education, capacity building, and advocacy.

ProPASS is the first international collaborative platform focused on prospective accelerometry cohort studies. ProPASS drives a diverse set of activities that span across data pooling and linkage, methods development (e.g., accelerometry, harmonisation, cohort studies design) and Early Career Researcher mentoring schemes. As of December 2021, ProPASS has engaged with approximately 20 international cohorts and this number is continuously rising.




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