1st Edition

Physical Activity in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

    296 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    296 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book critically evaluates the complex relations between physical activity, health imperatives and cultural and social opportunities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

    The book explores the uncertainty of knowledge around physical activity behavior and its distinctive meanings in LMIC contexts, the factors influencing physical activity, and how populations across the world understand and live the concept of physical activity. It discusses the key challenges and opportunities for sustaining physical activity within geographically and culturally diverse contexts of LMICs; introduces the reader to contemporary global physical activity approaches, models and policies; and presents case studies from around the world, including Asia, Africa, South America, the Pacific and Europe. Overall, the text relates theory to practical examples to facilitate a better understanding of physical activity in context, emphasizes the need for targeted, context-specific and locally relevant interventions to create PA-enabling environments in LMICs, and highlights the role of a range of stakeholders, including policy makers and urban planners, sport and recreation services, mass media, educators and the civil society in shaping population physical activity levels. Taken together, this edited volume brings together the latest research on PA in LMICs from around the world, informs and directs future research and necessary policy change towards the sustainable integration of PA opportunities, and seeks to ultimately foster and promote population-based PA in LMIC settings.

    By presenting empirical data and policy recommendations, this text will appeal to scholars, researchers and practitioners with an interest in physical activity research, public health, health promotion, sociology of sport, and sports sciences in LMICs, as well as policy makers and experts working in health promotion, public health, sports and fitness, but also in the urban planning and infrastructure and governmental industries.

    Foreword by Pedro C. Hallal

    1. Moving Forward, Moving More: Putting Low- and Middle-Income Countries Firmly on the Global Physical Activity Agenda

    Katja Siefken, Andrea Ramirez Varela, Temo Waqanivalu, Nico Schulenkorf

    2. Global Physical Activity: International Perspectives with Emphasis on Low- and Middle-Income Countries

    Andrea Ramirez Varela, Bojana Klepac Pogrmilovic, Pedro Hallal, Catalina del Portillo, Željko Pedišić, Harold Kohl, and Mike Pratt

    3. Physical Activity: Challenges and Opportunities in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

    Inácio Crochemore-Silva, Alan G. Knuth, Grégore I. Mielke, Andrea Wendt, and José Cazuza de Farias Júnior

    4. Physical Activity Policy Actions: What is the Role of Governments?

    Bill Bellew, Tracy Nau, Benjamin Smith, Bojana Klepac Pogrmilovic, Željko Pedišić, and Adrian Bauman

    5. Active Societies: The Global Action Plan on Physical Activity in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

    Nicolas Aguilar-Farias and Sebastian Miranda-Marquez

    6. Physical Activity Surveillance in the Context of Low- and Middle-Income Countries

    Željko Pedišić, Cora L. Craig, and Adrian E. Bauman

    7. Foreign Aid, the Soft Power of Sport, and the Sustainable Development Goals: An Analysis of Australia’s Sport for Development in the Pacific Program

    Thomas Wanner

    8. Progress and Opportunities for Advancing Physical Activity Behavior Change in LMICs

    Lilian Perez, Elva Arredondo, Ding Ding, and Gregory W. Heath

    9. Case Study from Latin America: Understanding the Relationship Between the Built Environment and Physical Activity in Latin American Contexts

    Eugen Resendiz, Alejandra Jáuregui, and Deborah Salvo 

    10. Case Study from Africa: Physical Activity and Safety From Crime and Traffic

    Adewale L. Oyeyemi, Tracy L. Kolbe-Alexander, and Estelle V. Lambert

    11. Case Study from the South Pacific: Women’s Sport Participation in Fiji: Through a Lens of Structural Inequality

    Yoko Kanemasu, James Johnson, and Atele Dutt 

    12. Case Study from Central America: Challenges and Opportunities for Physically Active Lifestyles in Girls and Young Women in Costa Rica and Countries in Central America

    Inés M. Revuelta-Sánchez and Gerardo A. Araya-Vargas

    13. Case Study from Asia: Push for pedal power: Urban mobility and rise of bicycling in Indian cities

    Deepti Adlakha, Felix John

    14. Case Study from Asia: Active Transportation: The Missing Part of the Puzzle for Physical Activity Promotion in India

    Shifalika Goenka and Raji Devarajan

    15. Case Study from Eastern Europe: Physical Activity in the Czech Republic: A society in transformation

    Josef Mitáš and Karel Frömel

    16. Moving the Agenda Forward: Reflections and Future Outlook on Physical Activity in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

    Nico Schulenkorf, Temo Waqanivalu, Andrea Ramirez, and Katja Siefken


    Katja Siefken is a professor for physical activity and health at the Medical School Hamburg, Germany. Her research focuses on the prevention of non-communicable diseases through physical activity and sport/health for development interventions with a specific focus on low- and middle- income countries.

    Andrea Ramírez Varela is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Los Andes University. Since 2014, she has been the coordinator of the Global Observatory for Physical Activity and a board member since 2020. She is the secretary of the newly formed Latin American Society for Physical Activity and Health Research and a board member of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health.

    Temo Waqanivalu is a program officer in the Surveillance and Population-Based Prevention unit of the Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland

    Nico Schulenkorf is an associate professor of sport management at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. His research focuses on the social, cultural, and health-related outcomes of sport and event projects in disadvantaged communities.


    "As global health inequities persist, it has become increasingly important to recognise how health and health behaviour, including physical activity, are experienced and promoted in LMICs. This book is a welcome and timely addition to the literature on physical activity and health, which has for too long been dominated by work in high-income countries. It brings together perspectives from a range of global LMIC settings, and provides contextual and practical examples from multiple sectors. For those seeking to understand how to advocate for and promote physical activity in LMIC settings, this book is for you." - Catherine Draper, Past ISPAH-President, University of the Witwatersrand

    "Globally, there are large differences in physical activity prevalence, research, and intervention efforts. Sometimes those differences favor Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) because many of these countries retain historical and culturally-meaningful physical activity practices, often through dance and sport. This book celebrates examples of these strengths in LMICs. But we also know that global economic and technological trends have displaced occupational, transportation, and household activities, creating a pandemic of physical inactivity that affects every country. This book, with contributions by many authors from LMICs, offers research and case studies that point to solutions for overcoming modern barriers to physical activities and strengthening culturally-appropriate activity traditions. Acting on the lessons conveyed in this book can reduce the burdens of physical inactivity related to both non-communicable and infectious diseases in LMICs. This book is for everyone with an interest in physical activity research and practice, global public health, and NCD and health promotion seeking to reduce health inequalities." - James F. Sallis, Professorial Fellow, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, University of California, San Diego