Physical activity is a fundamental means of improving physical and mental health. For too many people, however, it has been removed from everyday life, with dramatic effects for health and well-being. Physical inactivity is estimated toaccount for nearly 600 000 deaths per year in the WHO European Region. Tackling this leading risk factor would reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases, non-insulin- dependent diabetes, hypertension, some forms of cancer, musculoskeletal diseases and psychological disorders. In addition, physical activity is one of the keys to counteracting the current epidemic of overweight and obesity that is posing a new global challenge to public health.