Multisectoral action to promote physical activity has increased in the EU

WHO/Tatiana Vorovchenko

Results from the latest WHO study on physical activity in European Union Member States show an increase in national policy actions to promote physical activity between 2015 and 2018, particularly in programmes to increase physical activity promotion by health professionals, as well as schemes to increase physical activity among young people before, during and after the school day.

The findings are collected in a set of physical activity fact sheets published by WHO/Europe in collaboration with the European Commission. The fact sheets provide an updated overview of the epidemiology of physical inactivity, national policy responses and current monitoring and surveillance systems across the WHO European Region.

In addition to the country fact sheets, for the first time fact sheets were developed which provide an overview of promotion of physical activity in the education and health sectors. These novel fact sheets provide a snapshot of national and subnational actions in these sectors and offer a collection of good practice examples from across the Region. These can serve as inspiration for policy-makers, professionals and researchers across the EU to scale up action.

These publications provide guidance for Member States to take more action in underserved areas of physical activity promotion and have helped to strengthen networks, both within and between countries, to facilitate sharing of what works to reduce physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour. The multisectoral policy responses can increase physical activity through, for example, more walking, cycling active recreation, sport and play, and can contribute to achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals as identified in the Bangkok Declaration on Physical Activity for Global Health and Sustainable Development in 2016.

Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, commented: “More information and better data on physical activity levels and promotion strategies are essential to underpin policies based on evidence. These new country fact sheets on physical activity, which are the result of excellent cooperation between WHO, the European Commission and EU Member States, will help ensure policy-makers at all levels can rely on the solid evidence needed to encourage more people to be active”.