Nutrition & Diet for Healthy Lifestyles in Europe

Evidence and theory based promotion of health-enhancing physical activity 

Seppo Miilunpalo*
UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, FIN-33500 Tampere, Finland 

Short Title: Promotion of HEPA

Keywords: Health, Health promotion, Lifestyle, Exercise, Occupation, Leisure time, Population


Physical activity appears to improve health-related quality of life by enhancing psychological well being and by improving physical functioning, particularly in persons compromised by poor health. Health enhancing physical activity (HEPA) can in addition to, and instead of, structured and planned exercise and sports comprise other forms of physical activity, such as occupational activities, lifestyle activities and recreational activities. However, wide-range and long-term population strategies are needed for the promotion of physical activity in each of the categories of HEPA. It is necessary to create realistic opportunities for different population groups and individuals. The theoretical knowledge of the determinants of the target behaviour has to be translated to a practical form. On the basis of available empirical studies, the Predisposing, Enabling and Reinforcing factors in the PRECEDE-PROCEED model for health promotion, are all relevant and important for the adoption and maintenance of physical activity. In the end, promotional activities are needed where people live and work, i.e. at local level.


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