Physical activity promotion at the local level: municipal sport authorities participation in Colombia = Promoción de la actividad física en el nivel local: participación de las autoridades deportivas municipales en Colombia
Physical activity promotion (PAP) has reached policy agendas worldwide due to the social and economic burden that non-communicable diseases have generated. Colombia is one of the countries that have taken the challenge of promoting healthy lifestyles in order to reduce this burden and in addition, take advantage of other benefits that promoting this healthy lifestyle brings. Although some research has been done on the field, no studies related to the local government contribution were found. The local government plays a crucial role in PAP, considering that it has a great influence on the physical and social environment of a city and consequently in the individual behavior of its citizens. Additionally, it has a great responsibility concerning public health, social and economic development and environmental sustainability, aspects that are related to PAP. The present research, aims to provide a general overview on the current state of PAP in the Municipal Sport Authorities (MSAs) of one department of Colombia. In this sense, it is important to highlight that the sport sector has had a major role in PAP in the country and the department. Hence, structured interviews were conducted among heads of the MSAs of the 14 municipalities of the department and development plans were analyzed. Using this data, two main aspects were studied in order to achieve the research aim: the current PAP interventions and the conditions to promote physical activity (PA) in the department. Results indicate that the current PAP interventions have both strengths and weaknesses. Among the most important aspects, it was noticed that PAP in Risaralda has neglected important environmental determinants for PA behavior. PAP has been oriented from an “anthropic” perspective (targeting the individual). However, this seems to have had a positive effect on PA levels in the department. Concerning the conditions to promote PA, there are important findings related to the knowledge and skills of policy-makers and the management process used to develop the interventions. Some of the weaknesses found in the interventions might be related to the conditions to develop them. Recommendations to MSAs and for further research are given.
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