Despite the clear health benefits of regular physical activity and an increased concern in healthy lifestyle in this era, The National Statistical Office of Thailand found that less than 30% of Thais regularly engaged in physical activity in 2007. On average one-fourth of Thais are overweight and the most alarming fact at present is an incredibly high prevalence of obesity among the children aged between 2-18 years old. Common excuses for inactivity for instance, lack of time, sport facilities and equipment demonstrate contradictory findings as in Thailand almost all of 76 provinces have standard sport grounds and public parks at the community level. Unfortunately, an available database indicates that only one-third of 50,768 stadiums/grounds and 12,880 small public parks are currently utilized.
Therefore, Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) initiated a master plan to promote physical activities and sports for Health to better enable individuals and communities to engage in physical activity and sports as part of living a healthier lifestyle.
This plan aims at encouraging people of all ages and genders in every part of the country to engage in physical activities and sports as an integral part of their lives. It is anticipated that there will be mechanisms for all levels including municipality, regional and national, to continuously oversee the promotion of physical activity and sports for health.
- Increase the number of people who exercise and play sports within the target population;
- Provide young people with spaces for their physical activities;
- Support local government agencies, private organizations, and civil society in promoting physical activities and sports for health;
- Develop and disseminate knowledge and innovative ideas for promoting physical activities and sports for health in accordance with the ways of living in a community; and
- Support and collaborate with the local organizations which may include government agencies, private organizations, sports clubs and the media in implementing the policy on physical activities and sports for health with no alcoholic beverages and cigarettes.
Key Success Indicators
- An increase of ‘active’ population aged 11 years old from 29.6% to 32% or one million within 3 years.
- At least 76 spaces for physical activities for young people.
- At least 50% of target partners manage to create an environment which encourages physical and sporting activities
- Within 3 years, at least 30 innovations and researches on physical activities in accordance with the ways of life of people in their own communities. 60% of the target population becomes aware of those innovations and researches.
- At least 60 organizations of sports and media supports physical activities and sports for health without alcoholic beverages and cigarettes within 3 years and 60% of the target groups joined physical activities
- A 10% increase in number of specific target group (aged 25-59) who exercises regularly.
Strategies and Conceptual Framework
- Campaign to create public awareness via various activities to promote physical activities and sports for health.
- Support mechanisms and measures in promoting physical activities and sports for health covering every target group and organization partner with an aim to integrate physical activity into every health promotion plans
- Generate knowledge and innovation in Physical Activities and Sports for Health.
- Sponsorship in sporting activities or events to be free from alcohol and tobacco.
- Government authorities both at local and national levels such as the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Sport Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Public Health
- Sport Associations at all levels including private organizations, sport clubs, sports media associations and civil society.
- Academic and research institutes such as the Institute of Physical Education
- Physical activities and sports for health campaigning: to support people at all age, gender and group to exercise regularly and to increase the number of partners and those who exercise within target groups. The campaign will also support the people and local organizations to develop and implement projects which promote physical activities and sports in their own communities.
- Development and dissemination of scientific evidence and innovation for physical activities and sports for health: to encourage and support educational institutions to search for innovative and practical ways in promoting sports and exercise and to enhance Thai people’s health. Policy proposals at any level synthesized from scientific evidence are encouraged to be developed with active participation from civil society.
- Promotion of physical activities in local areas and workplaces: to encourage all levels of government, from provincial down to municipal, to incorporate sport and physical exercise into their development plans such as development of public space for sports and recreation activities. Coordination between national and provincial level policy will also be fostered.
- Sports sponsorship and specific policy advocacy: to provide sponsorship for sports events at provincial and national levels, and to expand alliance network with like-minded organizations who are also pursuing health and well being through physical activity. Through this program, public awareness and participation will be raised. New and different partners will be stimulated.