One in three adults in Europe does not do enough sport, WHO warns

In the European Union, almost one in three adults does not do enough sport, stressed a report (in English) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and from the World Health Organization (WHO), Friday, February 17. In 2016, 35.4% of adults in the 27 EU Member States were insufficiently active according to the WHO, which recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. Almost half (45%) report that they never exercise or play sports.

Low levels of physical activity are also common among adolescents, especially girls: only 17.6% of boys and 9.6% of girls report having at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, a WHO recommendation. The situation does not improve with age: only a quarter of those over 55 practice a sport or exercise at least once a week.

Women are also less active than men. Socio-economic status also influences physical activity: only 24% of people declaring themselves as blue-collar workers say they exercise at least once a week, compared to 51% of people belonging to more affluent social categories.

With the pandemic, more than half of less active Europeans

The Covid-19 pandemic has further aggravated the situation. If the confinements have pushed adults to do more sport, the opposite has happened for the most part. More than half of Europeans have reduced their activity and only 7% plan to do more physical activity once the pandemic is over, the study points out.

If everyone met WHO-recommended activity levels, more than 10,000 premature deaths of people between the ages of 30 and 70 could be prevented each year. Life expectancy would increase by 7.5 months for people who are insufficiently active. In addition, the Member States of the European Union would save 0.6% of their health budget, underlines this report.

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