Almost half of Europeans never exercise or play sport

The European Commission has released a new Eurobarometer displaying the results of questionnaires dealing with sport and physical activity of European citizens. 28,031 Europeans from different social and demographic categories were interviewed.

The results show that close to half of EU citizens never exercise or play sport. This proportion has increased over the years, from 42% in 2009 to 46% today. On the other hand, 40% of them exercise regularly (at least once a week), including 7% who do so at least five times a week. There is a striking North/South division in Europe, with more than 60% of people exercising regularly in Northern countries (Finland, Sweden, Denmark), and close to 70% of people who never exercise in Southern and Eastern countries (Greece, Poland and Bulgaria).Parks and outdoors are the most common settings where sport and physical activity take place (40%), followed by home (32%) and then by the journey between home and school, work or shops (23%). The lack of time is the main reason given for more practising sport more regularly (40%), far ahead of the lack of motivation or interest (20%) and a disability or illness (14%).

Even if 61% of EU citizens say they walked for at least ten minutes at a time on four or more of the last seven days, 15% however declare that they did not walk for at least 10 minutes at a time on any day within a week. Also, even though close to 70% of respondents spend between 2.5 and 8.5 hours sitting, there is a fringe of 12% who usually sits more than 8.5 hours. The time spent sitting down is correlated to the socio-professional activity. Indeed, people in white collar occupations tend to spend more time sitting down, as the proportion of them who spends more than 8.5 hours sitting per day belongs at 17% to managers and at 19% to white collar workers.

By promoting healthy eating habits at the workplace, the FOOD programme aims to contribute to an enhanced wellbeing at work. Physical activity plays a big role in employees’ health and that is why it is part of the FOOD programme’s recommendations in some of the countries.

To know more: Eurobarometer study


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