Department of Health Skip to content

Please note that this website has a UK government access keys system.

Page menu

You are here:

At least five a week: Evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health

A report from the Chief Medical Officer

This document is particularly aimed at the NHS, specifically public health and Primary Care Trusts. The report sets out the latest research evidence of the benefits of physical activity for health. The document is aimed at those concerned with formulating and implementing policies or programmes that utilise the promotion of physical activity, sport, exercise and active travel to achieve health gain.


1. Summary

2. The importance of physical activity for public health

3. Recommendations for active living throughout the lifecourse

4. Health benefits of physical activity in childhood and adolescence

5. The benefits of physical activity for adult health     5.1 Physical activity and cardiovascular disease
    5.2 Physical activity, overweight and obesity
    5.3 Physical activity and diabetes
    5.4 Physical activity and musculoskeletal health
    5.5 Physical activity, psychological well-being and mental illness
    5.6 Physical activity and cancer

6. Benefits of physical activity for older adults

7. Risks from physical activity


  1. Glossary
  2. Previous advice on levels of physical activity
  3. Interventions to increase physical activity among adults
  4. Department of health policy on physical activity
  5. Methods
  6. Acknowledgements



Access keys