Three European Commissioners call for Healthy Lifestyle initiative
By ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby.
One of the first objectives of the European Union is to “promote peace and well-being of its citizens”. It was therefore appropriate and encouraging that the three Commissioners for 1/ Education, Culture, Youth & Sport; 2/Health & Food Safety; 3/Agriculture and Rural Development yesterday announced the so-called “Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle”. (Named after the city Tartu in Estonia).
Physical inactivity in the European Union costs €80 billion and causes 500,000 citizens premature death – every year. So from an economic and as well moral and ethical perspectives investment and actions need to be taken.
Public health initiatives are unfortunately imbalanced between cure and prevention. It is cure before prevention. And when it comes to prevention, public health initiatives have primarily focused on diet and smoking.
There is a huge amount of evidence and knowledge about the “super drug” PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, and we can hope that physical activity promotion will climb the agenda with this initiative.
We welcome The Tartu Call for Healthy Lifestyle – it is a positive initiative. But it is as well important to underline that the goal of creating a healthy lifestyle for more citizens is not a quick fix. It needs investment at all levels. However, with €80 billion being the cost of physical inactivity annually the return on investment seems obvious.
Mogens Kirkeby was invited to present at the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU’s conference ‘Sport, Education, University: Joining efforts for athletes' dual career and active societies’. The conference ran from 20-23 September and Kirkeby spoke about the cost of physical inactivity in Europe in the ‘Importance of sport and physical activity for society’ session, and in the roundtable discussion on ‘Healthy Lifestyle’, in which the Commissioners announced their new commitment to healthy lifestyle initiatives.