A consensus meeting was held in Bangkok, 21–23 May 2002, where experts and young scientists in the field of physical activity, energy expenditure and body-weight regulation discussed the different aspects of physical activity in relation to the emerging problem of obesity worldwide. The following consensus statement was accepted unanimously.
‘The current physical activity guideline for adults of 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity daily, preferably all days of the week, is of importance for limiting health risks for a number of chronic diseases including coronary heart disease and diabetes. However for preventing weight gain or regain this guideline is likely to be insufficient for many individuals in the current environment. There is compelling evidence that prevention of weight regain in formerly obese individuals requires 60–90 minutes of moderate intensity activity or lesser amounts of vigorous intensity activity. Although definitive data are lacking, it seems likely that moderate intensity activity of approximately 45 to 60 minutes per day, or 1.7 PAL (Physical Activity Level) is required to prevent the transition to overweight or obesity. For children, even more activity time is recommended. A good approach for many individuals to obtain the recommended level of physical activity is to reduce sedentary behaviour by incorporating more incidental and leisure-time activity into the daily routine. Political action is imperative to effect physical and social environmental changes to enable and encourage physical activity. Settings in which these environmental changes can be implemented include the urban and transportation infrastructure, schools, and workplaces.’