Analysis of Cameroon’s Sectoral Policies on Physical Activity for Noncommunicable Disease Prevention

Physical inactivity is increasing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), urbanisation and sedentary living are rapidly growing in tandem. Increasing active living requires the participation of multiple sectors, yet it is unclear whether physical activity (PA)-relevant sectors in LMICs are prioritising PA. We investigated to what extent sectors that influence PA explicitly integrate it in their policies in an LMIC such as Cameroon. We systematically identified policy documents relevant to PA and NCD prevention in Cameroon; and using the Walt and Gilson policy triangle we described, analysed, and interpreted the policy contexts, contents, processes, and actors. We found 17 PA and NCD policy documents spanning from 1974 to 2019 across seven ministries. Thirteen (13/17) policies targeted infrastructure improvement, and four (4/17) targeted communication for behaviour change, all aiming to enhance leisure domain PA. Only the health sector explicitly acknowledged the role of PA in NCD prevention. Notably, no policy from the transport sector mentioned PA. Our findings highlight the need for intersectoral action to integrate PA into policies in all relevant sectors. These actions will need to encompass the breadth of PA domains, including transport, while emphasising the multiple health benefits of PA for the population.