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GoPA! IPH Partners in Physical Activity Research & Advocacy

GoPA! - The Global Observatory for Physical Activity

GoPA! - The Global Observatory for Physical Activity

Why a focus on Physical Activity? Physical inactivity is one of the primary global health issues of today, with more than 5 million deaths annually attributed to physical inactivity. In 2012, a World Health Organization report highlighted four global primary behavioral risk factors for the ongoing increase in non-communicable/chronic disease prevalence, morbidity and mortality worldwide. These include tobacco use, unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol, and physical inactivity.

What is GoPA!? The Global Observatory for Physical Activity (GoPA!) was also created in 2012, in order to monitor surveillance data, research, and policy related to physical activity, and to combat the global physical inactivity epidemic. It is a Council of the International Society of Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH), a global society of researchers and practitioners focused on promoting physical activity. 

Purpose. An important goal of GoPA! is to motivate large-scale policies and actions that will make the world’s populations more active. The UC San Diego Institute for Public Health and the Post-graduate Epidemiology Program at the Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil are proud to serve as the secretariat for GoPA!.

We gratefully acknowledge expert guidance from leading international physical activity researchers including the GoPA! Steering Committee Members

  • Adrian Bauman (University of Sydney, Australia),
  • Melody Ding (University of Sydney, Australia),
  • Ulf Ekelund (Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Norway),
  • Charlie Foster (University of Bristol, UK),
  • Pedro C. Hallal (Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil),
  • Gregory W. Heath (UT College of Medicine, Chattanooga, USA),
  • Harold W. (Bill) Kohl, III, (University of Texas at Austin, USA),
  • I-Min Lee (Harvard University, USA),
  • Kenneth E. Powell (Retired, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA),
  • Michael Pratt, MD, MSPE, MPH (UC San Diego) – Steering Committee Chair, University of California San Diego, USA
  • Andrea Ramirez (University of Los Andes, Colombia), and
  • Deborah Salvo (Washington University in St. Louis, USA).

Accomplishments. Since 2013, GoPA! has queried national experts from academia, government and clinical practice in more than 140 participating countries, on public health activities related to physical activity. The result has been the creation of a repository of current, high quality, and easily understood data on global physical activity and health, which may be used to inform public policy, research and intervention agendas.

Through creation of “Country Cards” and other indicators of research, policy, surveillance, and programs related to physical activity, GoPA! aims to influence global public health efforts to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary behavior, and prevent disease. In the long-run, GoPA! aspires to encourage global policymakers to create policies and programs that promote physical activity across multiple sectors including health, education, sports and recreation, transportation, environmental protection, urban planning, and economic development. Mechanisms may involve shifting from motor-vehicles to active transportation, implementing improved infrastructure for walking and biking, and numerous changes to the global environmental and social factors that are correlated with physical inactivity.

The UC San Diego Institute for Public Health is proud to be an affiliate of GoPA!, supporting implementation of research with the potential to profoundly improve global health, through increased physical activity.

For more information on GoPA! visit: 

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