Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health

Tenfold increase in childhood and adolescent obesity in four decades

A young obese girl, eating hamburger

11 October 2017– The number of obese children and adolescents (aged five to 19 years) worldwide has risen tenfold in the past four decades. If current trends continue, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022, according to a new study led by Imperial College London and WHO. Children and adolescents have rapidly transitioned from mostly underweight to mostly overweight in many middle-income countries, including in East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Development of a draft global action plan to promote physical activity

Illustration about noncommunicable diseases and physical activity in Russia
WHO /Sergey Volkov

1 August 2017 -- Further to the decision of the 140th session of the Executive Board to request the WHO Director-General to develop a draft global action plan to promote physical activity, the WHO Secretariat is hosting an open web-based consultation on a first draft from 1 August 2017 to 22 September 2017.

Walk the Talk: WHO Healthy Work Place Initiative

Walk the Talk: WHO Healthy Work Place Initiative
WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific

9 February 2017 -- ‘Walk the Talk: a WHO Healthy Work Place Initiative’ was launched at WHO headquarters and regional offices on the 19 January 2016. The initiative aims to promote healthy lifestyles in the workplace and reflects the commitment of WHO staff to set an example by following the recommendations set forward to Member States. A comprehensive strategy for a healthy workplace addresses a broad range of health issues, including physical activity, occupational health and safety and nutrition. The initiative is taken forward by the ‘Staff Health Safety and Wellbeing’ committee.

Taxing sugary drinks can reduce obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay

A drinking glass full of sugar cubes

11 October 2016 – A new report from WHO finds that an increase of at least 20% in the retail price of sugary drinks will result in proportional reductions in consumption of sugary drinks. Furthermore, the report also finds that subsidies used to reduce retail prices of fresh fruits and vegetables by 10–30% can increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Diet and physical activity: a public health priority

Diet and physical activity: a public health priority
Vanessa Collazos

Unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are key risk factors for the major noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes.

Heads of State and Government committed in the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of NCDs to reduce the exposure of populations to unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.

Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity

Photo of 2 young girls in front of computer, EURO.

May 2014 -- To gather the best possible advice on dealing with the crisis of childhood obesity, WHO’s Director-General has established a high-level Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. Tackling childhood obesity now represents an important opportunity to reduce the impact of heart disease, diabetes and other serious diseases in future – while immediately improving the health of children.


  • February 2017

    • WHO supports proposed sugar-sweetened beverages tax in South Africa
      WHO supports the consideration of Government of South Africa of introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to help reduce excessive sugar intake. This is one of interventions proposed in the Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Obesity in South Africa 2015-2020. WHO has supported introduction of such taxes since it was proposed by the National Treasury in August 2016.
  • 16 November 2016

    • Tackling food marketing to children in a digital world: trans-disciplinary perspectives
      This publication provides up-to-date information on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children and the changes that have occurred in recent years, focusing in particular on the major shift to digital marketing. It examines trends in media use among children, marketing methods in the new digital media landscape and children’s engagement with such marketing. It also considers the impact on children and their ability to counter marketing as well as the implications or children’s digital privacy. Finally the report discusses the policy implications and some of the recent policy action by WHO European Member States.
  • 11 October 2016

    Fiscal policies for diet and the prevention of noncommunicable diseases

    To address the increasing number of requests from Member States for guidance on how to design fiscal policies on diet, WHO convened a technical meeting of global experts in fiscal policies on 5–6 May 2015 in Geneva. The main objectives of the meeting were to review evidence and existing guidance, discuss country case studies and provide considerations with regards to the scope, design and implementation of effective fiscal policies on diet.

  • 22 September 2016

    SHAKE the salt habit

    The SHAKE Technical Package for Salt reduction has been designed to assist Member States with the development, implementation and monitoring of salt reduction strategies to enable them to achieve a reduction in population salt intake. The SHAKE package outlines the policies and interventions which have been effective in reducing population salt intake, provides evidence of the efficacy of the recommended interventions, and includes a toolkit containing resources to assist Members States to implement the interventions.

Topics of interest

  • Diet
    Healthy diets play a key role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.
  • Physical Activity
    Being physically active is essential for good health throughout life.

Facts on diet and physical activity