The role of partnerships in promoting physical activity: the experience of Agita São Paulo
a b s t r a c t - Strategic partnership is a logical approach to face some of the public health problems. However, its application is some what more complex. In this paper our experience with three networks (Agita São Paulo, Physical Activity Network of Americas, and Agita Mundo Network) was described. In the case of Agita São Paulo even the name was a consequence of a partnership with a marketing company, and isan idiomatic expression that means much more than just to move your body. It also means to move psychologically and socially, with the concept of ‘‘active citizenship’’. Among the important features of that intervention, we highlighted: (a) national and international intellectual partnership; (b) stronginstitutional partnerships, including government in one hand, and non-governmental and private sectorin the other hand, in a so called: ‘‘two-hats approach’’; (c) minimal formalization/maximal flexibility;(d) a signed letter of agreement: an active symbol of institutional commitment; (e) use the ‘‘mobilemanagement’’ adaptation of the ecological model, in which attention was given to intrapersonal, social, and physical environmental factors, in a dynamic way; (f) attention to inter-sectoral as well as to intrasectoral partners, in which creates incentives for participation of more than one representative fromeach sector; (g) the inclusion principle, that was not restricted to the institution, but affected the program actions, materials, and particularly the messages; (h) a high level of legitimacy of the coordination institution in the leadership; (i) special attention to improve environment supports forphysical activity, such as: strategic partnerships established with the Metro System, that serves over 1million persons/day; the Truck Drivers Radio Station; the State Secretariat of Environment, that built awalking path around its main building; the city of São Caetano do Sul, with the healthy side walk program; the city of Santana do Parnaiba building a walking path around the out patients clinic, as wellas the establishment of a fitness room in the basic unit of health; and Sorocaba, a city of 600,000 inhabitants, that after 4 years of the program of building walk and bike path ways, and parks, found adecrease in hospitalization of 50% by stroke, and 57% of diabetes type 2. A recent paper has shown that sedendarism has declined relatively about 70% from 2002 to 2008 in the State of Sao Paulo, and WorldBank has reported that Agita represents a saving of 310 million US dollars per year in the health sectorof Sao Paulo. All this scenario strongly suggests that the social issue in the developing countriesfacilitates the success of strategic partnerships.