World Health Organisation (Europe) Position and Activities on Measurement of Nutrition and Physical Exercise (by M. Rigby)

By definition of having global responsibility for matters appertaining to health, the World Health Organization (WHO) has an expert body role, which inter alia covers all the Member States of the European Union and those seeking membership. However, its nature and function is distinctly different from the European Commission (EC). It is therefore important to seek maximum synergy and cohesion between the health-related activities and initiatives of the two bodies, while recognising the distinction and respective autonomies of the two.

The WHO is an expert technical agency of the United Nations. Its role is strictly apolitical, and it must strive to develop principles and policies that are without political bias, and that are acceptable to any political philosophy and to any style of government. The WHO has no executive authority or sanctions over national governments, but must lead by weight of evidence. This means that the work of the WHO must be strongly evidence based, though at the same time the WHO does not have the resources itself to undertake or commission major research.

The mission of the WHO is to maximise health, according to the definition within its constitution, namely that health is a “state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This is an aspiration supported by virtually all states globally.


Physical Activity World Health Organization International Physical Activity Questionnaire Noncommunicable Disease Nutrition Policy 
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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

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