Physical Inactivity is a Global Crisis

By the numbers: According to the latest Eurobarometer on sport and physical activity, 45% of Europeans are sedentary, never partaking in exercise or physical activity.

  • 38% of Europeans play sports or exercise at least once a week, while 17% exercise less than once a week.
  • Respondents in Finland (71%), Luxembourg (63%), the Netherlands (60%), and Denmark and Sweden (59% each) are the most active.
  • The countries with the highest inactivity levels include Portugal (73%), Greece (68%), and Poland (65%).

On the bright side. Individuals 15–24 years old are most active, signalling an interest among younger generations that could become a lifelong habit.

Acknowledging the power of regular exercise, improving health (54%) and fitness (43%) were among the main motivators to get moving, with de-stressing (39%) rounding out the top three.

Of note, parks and outdoor spaces (47%) ranked as the primary location for physical activity, followed by at home.

But… As European commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth Mariya Gabriel put it, there’s still a great deal of work to be done:

“It is vitally important to continue and step up our efforts to promote physical activity, healthy lifestyles and universal values from gender equality to inclusiveness, through sport.”

Takeaway: With a lack of physical activity set to cost the world’s economy more than US$300B by 2030, promoting exercise, sport, and a healthier way of life must be a priority the world over.

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