Objectives: Growing interest in physical activity has led to the development of a number of organizations, networks and associations, including grass-root, professional and academic institutions. To maximize relevance and effectiveness of work undertaken in this field, we aimed at developing a systematic overview of institutions active in health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA). Methods: Systematic, purposive weblink-search complemented by expert input; classification by institutional type, main activity and synergy with goals of HEPA Europe, the European network for the promotion of HEPA. Results: Of 127 identified institutions, 42 met the criteria of being European and active in physical activity promotion. 45.3% were NGO/associations, 33.3% were networks, 11.9% WHO units or platforms and 9.5% bodies of the European Commission. Sport was the main topic of 28.6% institutions. Health promotion was represented with 21.4%, physical activity promotion and transport/environment with 19.0% each, disease prevention with 7.2% and nutrition with 4.8%. Seven institutions had a high synergy to HEPA Europe’s goals. Conclusions: The search identified many institutions, networks and initiatives, which 1. reflects the growing interest in and importance of physical activity for a number of stakeholders, 2. provides increased capacity to address this important topic on a European scale and 3. creates a “critical mass” to push the agenda forward into clearer and synergetic directions. Systematically mapping key players is a useful tool for institutions active in an environment with a multitude of actors to ensure that activities provide added value, to avoid duplication and to promote partnership and efficient use of resources.
- Physical activity, sport, public health, institutions, Europe