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Physical activity and the environment [PH8]



Subject Keywords: Physical activity and the environment
Topic: Obesity
Type: Guideline
Region: United Kingdom

This guidance offers the first evidence-based recommendations on how to improve the physical environment to encourage physical activity.

It is for NHS and other professionals who have responsibility for the built or natural environment. This includes local transport authorities, transport planners, those working in local authorities and the education, community, voluntary and private sectors. It may also be of interest to members of the public.

The seven recommendations cover strategy, policy and plans, transport, public open spaces, buildings and schools. They include:

  • Ensure planning applications for new developments always prioritise the need for people (including those whose mobility is impaired) to be physically active as a routine part of their daily life.
  • Ensure pedestrians, cyclists and users of other modes of transport that involve physical activity are given the highest priority when developing or maintaining streets and roads.
  • Plan and provide a comprehensive network of routes for walking, cycling and using other modes of transport involving physical activity.
  • Ensure public open spaces and public paths can be reached on foot, by bicycle and using other modes of transport involving physical activity.



Suggested citation:

NICE. (2008) Physical activity and the environment [PH8] [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 17th July 2019].


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