On Wednesday 2 November, over 70 representatives from 15 different countries came together in Prague for the inaugural Central and Eastern European Health and Fitness Summit, organised by the Czech Fitness Chambers in collaboration with EuropeActive.
The welcoming remarks of Jana Havrdová, president of the Czech Chamber of Fitness, where followed by some introductory words from Andreas Paulsen, EuropeActive’s executive director, who subsequently presented EuropeActive's Moving Forward Together strategy, setting the direction for the European fitness and physical activity sector for the years to come.
Following the strategy presentation, there were a series of keynote speakers and panel discussions which focused on the status of and the challenges and opportunities for the fitness and physical activity sector in central and eastern Europe.
The final part of the conference looked in more detail at some concrete examples of successful European collaboration through EU funded actions coordinated by EuropeActive. First, Jana Havrdová and Lukas Declercq, EuropeActive’s EU & Public Affairs Director, presented the impact and potential of the #BEACTIVE DAY campaign, the sector’s contribution to the European week of sport. As a second example, the Active Ageing Communities projects was presented by Professor Paolo Caserotti from the University of Southern Denmark, who highlighted that the training programmes for seniors developed as part of the project had a retention rate of well over 90%.
In her closing remarks, Jana Havrdová, thanked the participants and concluded that the first edition of the summit of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe confirmed that the region faces similar problems and challenges. At the political level, the importance of physical activity for the population is deeply underestimated, and there’s a pressing need to speed up the further professionalisation of the sector through the use of standards and the further upskilling of the workforce.