The World Health Organisation European Office has published its new physical activity factsheets for EU Member States. This document summarizes findings based on specific indicators (e.g. recommendations, funding, physical activity levels), as well as actions and policies in the area of health-enhancing physical activity promotion. Divided in two parts, the report first gives us information and results for the European Union in general, with an input on the evolution of the situation based on the 2015 and 2018 report, while the second part provides the physical activity factsheets of all 27 countries in the EU, including national recommendations and specific findings.
The factsheets show that EU Member States improved their surveillance systems and implemented policy actions to promote physical activity based on the WHO physical activity recommendations. It also highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on physical activity promotion, as lockdowns limited access to infrastructure to exercise. This had a negative impact on physical activity levels, while also increasing sedentary behaviour. However, this document also emphasizes that the pandemic also provided advocacy opportunities to further promote physical activity, with scientific studies showing the positive effect of exercise on COVID outcomes.
The main message of the World Health Organisation that “little physical activity is better than nothing at all”. The report thus encourages policymakers to build on the momentum and use the current public awareness of the health benefits of physical activity to develop and implement new health-promoting policies.
The factsheets are available here.