On 21 March 2018, the European Commission released its third special edition of the Eurobarometer focusing on Sport and Physical activity. This survey studies the growing economic and social impact of sport in Europe. It follows comparable surveys conducted over the last sixteen years in 2002, 2009 and 2013 and provides data as a basis for the development of policies promoting sport and physical activity.
The new numbers illustrate that the share of citizens that never exercise or play sport has increased from 42 to 46% since the previous survey in 2014. This increase at the EU scale appears to be a gradual trend since 2009. Nonetheless, six Member States saw an improvement of physical activity rates: Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Malta.
The survey also confirms the negative trend of the past years concerning the participation of young women in sport and physical activity. In the 15-24 age group, 47 % of girls/women, but only 29 % of boys/men never or seldom exercises or play sport.
The survey provides other data bearing witness of the increasing trend of a sedentary lifestyle and lack of time to do sport.
Regarding infrastructure and policies, the survey finds that most Europeans think that there are opportunities available locally to be physically active, however, many still do not think their local authority does enough to provide their citizens with opportunities to do sport.
It is also interesting to note that three in ten EU citizens say that they are members of an organisation where they participate in sport – 12% in sport clubs, 11 % in fitness centres, 3 % in socio-cultural clubs and 7% in another type of club.
Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport - who presented the outcome of the survey at the EU Sport Forum - strongly encouraged all actors such as employers, local authorities and sport organisations to double their efforts and increase their collaboration in the strive against physical inactivity.