There is ongoing political debate on the understanding of actual physical activity levels in the European population. This debate requires the availability of improved comparable information on physical activity in all member states. To facilitate making such information available a new PHEA/DG SANCO project was launched on the 1st of June 2007, namely ALPHA: Assessing Levels of PHysical Activity and fitness at population level.

ALPHA’s objective was to develop and test a comprehensive set of assessment methodologies for physical activity levels at the population level. Moreover, the project focuses on a number of key factors that relate to the achievement and enablement of physical activity levels, such as the urban environment, transport related physical activity, work related physical activity and health related fitness.

The ALPHA study, after spending 2-3 years reviewing the evidence, developing tools, and consulting with international experts, provides recommendations for assessing physical activity levels, the activity-related environment and health-related physical fitness at population level.