Increase in actions to promote physical activity

The new country factsheets on physical activity have been published by the European Commission. The Commission publishes these country factsheets in line with the Council Recommendation on promoting health-enhancing physical activity across sectors, from November 2013.

The fact sheets have some good and some bad news in them. First the good news. Since the previous edition of the country fact sheets in 2015, the number of countries implementing effective policies and strategies promoting physical activity has increased. Furthermore, the increase in dedicated funding and the number of national coordinators is very promising. This indicates a recognition of the importance of a cross-sectoral approach by the member states.

Unfortunately, there’s also some bad news. Most importantly the continuous increase off inactivity levels in Europe. This year’s Eurobarometer on sport and physical activity found that 46% of Europeans never exercise or play sports, a truly shocking number. And even more worryingly, it is a downward trend. Compared to the previous Eurobarometer, from 2014, the number of inactive people has increased by 3%. The country fact sheets show that there are some specific fields were action is missing, mainly on physical activity at work and active ageing.

A lot has been done to promote physical activity, but it’s quite obvious that it’s not enough. If we want to turn the tide of inactivity more resources and continuous investment will be needed in all of the EU member states.