People in the EU are not moving nearly as much as they should. With drastic consequences: Regular training could prevent thousands of deaths and diseases. Whether or not you train regularly obviously depends not only on gender, but also on income.
According to the OECD, the organization of industrialized nations, people in the EU do not get enough exercise. According to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), more than a third of people do not reach the level of exercise recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the OECD announced in Paris.
The WHO recommends around 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. According to the OECD, if everyone adhered to this, more than 10,000 premature deaths per year could be prevented in the EU. The average life expectancy of the entire EU population could be extended by almost two months, according to the OECD.
Regular exercise is therefore one of the most important things you can do for your body and mind. Sport can, among other things, prevent diabetes or certain forms of cancer. 3.5 million depressions and 3.8 million cardiovascular diseases alone could be prevented by 2050 if people exercised 150 minutes a week, the study found.
On average, however, only four out of ten people exercise regularly. However, the differences between the countries are large: while in Finland two-thirds of adults do sport regularly, in other countries it is only one in five. Other studies paint a similar picture: According to a Eurobarometer survey from 2022, 45 percent of EU citizens do no sport at all.
According to the information, women exercise less than men, and this is particularly evident among younger people: in the 15 to 24 age group, 73 percent of men exercise at least once a week, but only 58 percent of women. Another factor that decides how much exercise is, according to the OECD, is income: Among people who identify themselves as working class, only 24 percent said they exercise regularly. In the upper income bracket, on the other hand, the figure is 51 percent.
The corona pandemic has aggravated the situation with lockdowns and exit restrictions, the OECD said. In almost all EU countries, physical activity has decreased significantly as a result of the pandemic. But more exercise would not only have advantages for your own health, but also for the state coffers: If everyone followed the recommendations of the WHO for more exercise, an average of 0.6 percent of health expenditure could be saved.