Where are APA specialists in the French laws about Sports for Health and Adapted Physical Activity?

In summary

  • This article is about the recognition of professionals’ skills in APA, in France and in others countries.
  • As in many countries, APA professionals in France struggle to be identified and legitimated in legal framework.
  • A group of French APA professionals raise awareness about APA among politic leaders, stakeholders, partners and publics with special needs.
  • They invite you to join to their commitment and to sign their ongoing petition (https://chng.it/mbCh6CMp) to support their efforts to be considered in all present or future bills dealing with APA.


In respect with the global WHO guidelines, France promotes physical activity in its public health politics. Following this goal, Adapted Physical Activity (APA) is encouraged in publics with disabilities, chronic diseases, in seniors or other populations with special needs. In 2016, APA was introduced in the French Public Health Code. Then after, general practitioners (GPs) has been allowed to prescribe APA to people covered by the National Health insurance system because of their chronic diseases (A first step, even APA remains uncovered per se).

As you know, the UNESCO Chair in Physical Activity and Sports supports initiatives around the world to ensure quality physical education, physical activity, sport and fitness programmes for all. In the framework of MINEPS V and VI, whose recommendations have been signed by France, the question of the qualification of professionals in APA appear central. Despite this and similarly to what is observed in many country, professionals in APA from France remain in difficulties to be fully legitimated as a key actors to meet PA-related special needs in publics with disabilities, with chronic diseases, the elderly or other people with vulnerabilities. Maybe you could find yourselves in their national commitment.

French professionals in APA ask the full recognition of the academic roots of their specialty. They would appreciate some consideration for their specific abilities to safely support PA in publics with special needs and vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, and as observed in many other countries, they and their beneficiaries still struggle to be solicited and included in all the official texts dealing with APA and with Sports-for-health politics in aging, chronic diseases and disabilities.

History repeats itself once again: a new bill aiming to democratizing sports for all includes APA, as a concept characterizing PA practices dedicated to people with disabilities, in older age, or with different chronic diseases. Surprisingly, the text “misses” to underline the main roles of APA professionals in prescribing, evaluating, implementing, coordinating PA programs for these publics. That a reason why they ask for creating an essential social status, to be considered as real Allied-Health professionals, at the interface between the sports, health, education and social sectors.

Everywhere, Governments have to ensure an accurate information about specific professional skills of PA providers available to publics with special needs, to help them to remain free in their informed choice about PA, de provide high quality and inclusive APA services. Drawing attention of the Government and the Members of the French Parliament, we (a collective of French Professionals in APA), propose to anybody supporting the unavoidable role of professionals in APA in safely promoting physical activity in a long term, in aging people and those with disabilities or chronic diseases to be involved.

Please, sign the petition with us!
As 8,000 supporters and more, politic leaders, professionals, advocates and practitioners in APA and their relatives, their representative NGOs, (Allied) Health and psycho-social professionals, any other stakeholders interested in APA recognition are invited to join and sign the ongoing petition (https://chng.it/mbCh6CMp).

The petition underlines recurrent requests identified during the process of a previous bill. This petition will remain opened to signatures during next months, and will be until the fair recognition of professionals in APA, in every French legal text dealing with our field of intervention. Our supporters will be informed about further progresses by social media and websites of our national and international partners.

The main objectives of this collective commitment:

  • Raising awareness about APA and its professionals among policy makers, general public, and concerned people.
  • To legitimate the theoretical, pedagogical and scientific academic roots of APA.
  • To be recognized in our curricula and diplomas, in our specific skills and competences to safely support APA for all publics with special needs.
  • To be consulted on draft legislation affecting our field of expertise.
  • To remain free to monitor, plan, implement and prescribe APA for our users who are older, with disabilities or chronic diseases, in full coordination with their GPs and other Allied Health Professionals involved in their cares.
  • To be integrated in the development of the politics of APA reimbursement by the Health National Insurance. To contribute as active stakeholders in its implementation.
  • To contribute to the evaluation of the plus-value brought by a professional with an APA -based curriculum in the efficiency of programs which could be reimbursed to the clients / patients / users with a handicap, a chronic disease, any risk factor, elderly or anyone needing supports in his/her social inclusion and PA participation.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact by e-mail: csmeapa@gmail.com