The initiative follows a call from the Council in 2012 inviting the Commission to present a proposal for a Council Recommendation promoting a cross-sectoral approach to health-enhancing physical activity based on the 2008 EU Physical Activity Guidelines.
Building on the EU Physical Activity Guidelines and on-going efforts in the Member States to promote physical activity, the new policy initiative encourages new measures across all those policy sectors that can enable citizens’ to be or to become physically active.
The many benefits of physical activity and exercise throughout people’s lives, are well documented, as are the problems caused by a lack of physical activity, including premature mortality, rising overweight and obesity levels, breast and colon cancers, diabetes and ischaemic heart disease. Available evidence shows that the health problems imply significant economic costs, especially in view of Europe’s rapidly ageing societies.
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for sport said: “Much more can be done through our policies to encourage people to get out of their chairs. This initative is an important milestone in the Commission’s efforts to promote health-enhancing physical activity in the EU. We propose to Member States to take measures across all those policy sectors that can enable citizens’ to be or to become physically active “.
One key element of the proposal is a monitoring framework which should help Member States to trace developments and identify trends regarding their national efforts to promote sport and physical activity. By acting together with the Member States the Commission aims at reducing the significant costs caused by the lack of physical activity in Europe.
The Council will start discussing the Recommendation as of September and could possibly adopt it in 2013. EU support for the implementation of the measures is proposed to come from Erasmus+, due to start in 2014.