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Physical activity investments that can work in Ethiopia

Why we invest in physical activity?

Everybody needs food and water to survive every day. Likewise, we need daily physical activity to have good health and wellbeing. Unfortunately non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are going to clear people from planet earth if we not tackle early. Physical inactivity is one of the main risk factors for NCDs. It is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. Hence, country-friendly physical activity investments are required to tackle the current burden of physical inactivity, sedentary behavior and NCDs. This blog explores possible physical activity investments that can work for Ethiopia.

Which physical activity investments work?

The following investments can work to increase physical activity awareness and practice in Ethiopia.

To prioritize physical activity in Ethiopia

  • Develop national physical activity policy guideline and action plan
  • Implement the World Health Organization Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030 according to Ethiopia context.

To raise public awareness

  • Car Free Day initiative
  • World Physical Activity Day in Ethiopia
  • Physical activity counseling at healthcare setting
  • Public education through mass media

To increase physical activity practices

  • Workplace friendly physical activity programs such as 10 minutes’ group fun activities before work, moving around while working, climbing stairs instead of using elevators, meeting work colleagues by moving to them instead of using office calls, putting printer a walking distance from your sitting place, standing and stretching every 2 hours, etc.
  • Whole community physical activity program where people live, work and recreate. For example, engaging in regular physical activity in group in each village or Kebele for at least 10 minutes every day.
  • Active travel such as brisk walking to and from work, school, shop, etc. For instance, buying materials by jumping nearby shops to get 10 minutes brisk walking. Remember: turn every opportunity into physical activity practice.
  • School-based physical activity program such as increasing the number of physical education practical sessions both unstructured and structured, 10 minutes’ group exercises before class starts, etc.
  • Physical activity curriculum Human power is a great input for implementing physical activity investments. For example, integrating physical activity curriculum into all health science and related fields. This also includes developing physical activity as separate field of study at undergraduate, postgraduate and postgraduate research levels.
  • Built environment that are accessible for physical activity such as safe road design for sidewalk, bike, and physical activity parks.
  • Access to physical activity at recreational places. All recreational places should include places that re inclusive to people for physical activity regardless of sex, age, fitness level, etc
  • Organized Sport Participation: Integrating physical activity into existing organized Sport events in Ethiopia.
  • Etc

To support physical activity investment through evidence

  • Establish physical activity research and surveillance center

Who are the key actors for this investment?

All government ministerial offices, non-government organizations, private sector, higher academic institutions, civil societies, donors, etc are responsible for the implementation of physical activity investment that works for Ethiopia.


Physical activity investments are required to curb the current burden of physical inactivity and non-communicable diseases in Ethiopia. Thus, it is urgent to implement physical activity investment that works for Ethiopia in collaboration with key actors of this investment.

About the author

Chalchisa Abdeta is a young expert, researcher, blogger and volunteer on physical activity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Ethiopia. He took several training courses on NCDs & physical activity. He is working as country representative for physical activity in Ethiopia since December 2016. He obtained a Master of Public Health from Haramaya University and Bachelor of Physiotherapy from University of Gondar. He has practiced for 8 years as physiotherapist in both public and private hospitals in the eastern Ethiopia. He is a passionate physical activity advocate on social media and struggling to tackle NCDs in Ethiopia since 2015. You can follow him on Twitter @chaliPA_abdeta



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