How many people play sports in europe

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How many people play sports in europe

Physical activity is critical to a healthy lifestyle, and as a result, a number of researchers and other organizations in Europe have begun tracking the physical activities of European citizens. While researchers often do not distinguish between "physical activity" and "sports participation," we have identified some key insights and trends on this topic. Based on the last seven-year study of physical activity in Europe, the Eurobarometer report, it is estimated that 41 percent of Europeans played sports and/or exercised at least once weekly in 2013. There is a marked difference in participation rates for males versus females in the 15 to 24 age group in Europe, with 74 percent of males versus only 55 percent of females participating in sports and/or physical activity regularly. Countries in northern Europe, such as Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg are the most likely to participate in sports, while the lowest levels of participation can be found in Bulgaria, Malta, Portugal, Romania, and Italy. Below you will find a discussion of our findings, as well as some consideration of the limitations of this research.

overview of sports policy in europe

The first White Paper on Sport was issued by the European Commission in 2007, addressing sports participation in the European Union. In 2011, the European Commission released guidance regarding the social and economic impact of sports participation, as well as the organization of sporting activities in the European Union. Finally, in 2012, further materials were released on "promoting health-enhancing physical activity and on strengthening the evidence-base for sport policy making, both calling on the Commission to issue regular surveys on sport and physical activity."

In addition to these efforts to promote sports participation, the Eurobarometer survey, a public opinion survey administered to citizens in all 28 European Union member states every seven years, addresses sports participation and physical activity in Europe. Unfortunately, the Eurobarometer is the most comprehensive resource identified to address this topic, but because it is only released every seven years, the most recent findings were compiled in 2013 and published in 2014. While research this dated is not usually included in a Wonder project, we have elected to include it for this brief, as it is a reputable source and the most currently published official data available. However, it should be noted that it is very difficult to distinguish "sports participation" from "physical activity" in many European publications, including the Eurobarometer, and these terms are frequently used interchangeably.

SPORTS PARTICIPATION demographics IN EUROPE

The previous Eurobarometer report indicated that 34 percent of Europeans seldom or never participated in sports, suggesting that 66 percentof citizens participated in sports or exercised regularly. By 2013, the Eurobarometer survey revealed that approximately 41% of Europeans participated in physical activity or played a sport weekly. Unfortunately, across all demographics, it appears that by 2013, the majority of European citizens did not participate in any physical activity on a regular basis, with 59 percent of citizens reporting they never played sports or exercised. The number of active citizens decreased dramatically, despite policies set in place by the World Health Organization to increase activity. In contrast, only 8 percent of Europeans participated in sports or exercise five times weekly or more.

In Europe, there is a strong distinction between levels of sports participation and various demographics. First, there is difference in participation rates among men and women. As one example, in the 15 to 24 age group, approximately 74 percent of males participated in sports regularly, while only 55 percent of females reported the same participation rate.

Second, sports participation is correlated with age. For example, in the overall 15 to 24 age group, 64 percent of Europeans participated in sports and/or exercise at least once per week, while only 46 percent of citizens in the 25 to 39 age group participated in sports weekly. In the 40 to 54 age group, 39 percent of Europeans participated in sports weekly, while only 30 percent of citizens over the age of 55 played sports at least once per week.

Third, socioeconomic status is a predictor of sports participation. It is estimated that 59 percent of managers participated in sports at least weekly, although 44 percent of professionals in white-collar jobs and 45 percent of self-employed citizens reported similar rates of participation. It is estimated that 72 percent of retirees and citizens who worked in the home did not participate, or seldom participated, in sports. Similarly, 63 percent of unemployed persons did not participate in sports. Among citizens who participated in sports five times per week or more frequently, socioeconomic factors do not appear to play a role.

Fourth, higher education levels are associated with increased participation in sports. At least 68 percent of citizens who exited the education system at age 15 or older did not participate in sports at all, compared to 72 percent of individuals who remained in school through ages 16 and older.

Lack of time was identified as the main factor limiting sports involvement, while 20 percent of Europeans reported they simply lacked the motivation to participate. For those citizens who did play sports, their primary motivations were improving health and fitness, relaxing, and having fun. The primary venue for participating in recreational sports was outdoors (including parks), although 36 percent of players participated in sports at home. Despite the majority of European citizens failing to participate in sports at least once per week, at least 76 percent reported that opportunities were afforded to them in their local communities to exercise. Interestingly, despite their overall lack of participation themselves, at least 35 percent of European citizens volunteered in sports. This data, combined with your previous request regarding sports viewing in Europe, may provide an interesting insight regarding the preference of Europeans to view, rather than participate in, sports.

sports participation levels by country

According to the Eurobarometer, levels of sports participation are linked to geographical location. Northern Europe boasted the highest rates of sports participation at least once per week, including Sweden (70 percent), Denmark (68 percent), Finland (66 percent), the Netherlands (58 percent), and Luxembourg (54 percent). Sweden demonstrated the overall highest citizen participation rates in sports, and Swedish citizens were the most likely to participate in sports five or more days per week, at a rate of 15 percent. Researchers have hypothesized that because sports participation is correlated with educational level and higher socioeconomic levels, these findings may explain the higher levels of participation reported in northern European countries.

In contrast, countries in the southern portion of the European Union participated in sports less frequently. Countries in which the highest number of citizens did not participate in sports at all included Bulgaria (78 percent), Malta (75 percent), Portugal (64 percent), Romania (60 percent) and Italy (60 percent). An overall lack of participation in sports increased most substantially in Bulgaria and Malta. For example, in the period from 2009 to 2013, there was an increase of citizens reporting no participation in sports of 20 percent in Bulgaria and 37 percent in Malta.

CONCLUSION

Based on the most recent survey of sports participation among European citizens, our findings revealed that in 2013, only 41 percent of Europeans participated in a sport at least once per week, which is a 7 percent decrease from previous years. Sports participation is correlated with age, socioeconomic status, gender, education, and geographical location within the European Union.
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