Finland a leading EU country in promoting physical activity
The WHO Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe), together with the European Union, prepares a comparative analysis every three years on how the Council of the European Union recommendations on physical activity are implemented in the Member States of the European Union (EU Physical Activity Country Factsheets). Information is collected on the physical activity of the population and on policy measures aimed at health-enhancing physical activity, on the cross-administrative nature of promoting physical activity, on existing physical activity recommendations for different age groups and on how they are implemented, as well as on measures and the volume of physical activity in schools and workplaces. Thematic reports are also produced.
According to a recent report, there has been a general improvement in the indicators of the Member States between 2015 and 2021, even though the trend slowed down in 2018. For example, physical activity among older people was promoted in 74% of the countries and physical activity in the workplace in 74%. 89% of countries invested in the training and education of sports teachers, 78% increased access to exercise facilities for socially disadvantaged groups, and 85% prepared national recommendations for health-enhancing physical activity. According to the WHO report, the COVID-19 pandemic underlined the importance of the local environment and the opportunity to engage in physical activity as part of everyday life.
The national report provides more detailed information about the actions and programmes Finland has introduced to promote physical activity in different ways and among different population groups such as children and young people, older people, people with reduced mobility, ethnic minorities and socially disadvantaged groups. Campaigns and programmes mentioned in the report include the Finnish Schools on the Move, the Smart to School and the Adults on the Move programmes, the Finnish model on leisure activities, the national guidelines for counselling on physical activity, and the Finland Forward campaign.
“The country reports show that Finland is among the leading EU countries in promoting health-enhancing physical activity,” says Päivi Aalto-Nevalainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser for Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Education and Culture, Division for Sport. Aalto-Nevalainen was responsible for coordinating the country report work in Finland. Actions and programmes in Finland provide a broad spectrum of opportunities, covering all 23 indicators and involving strong horizontal cooperation.
The Ministry of Education and Culture represents Finland in the focal points network of the European Union and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The role of the network is to coordinate data collection at national level and to support the EU and WHO/Europe in preparing, implementing and reporting data collection and in implementing measures to promote physical activity in Europe.
Päivi Aalto-Nevalainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Cultural Affairs, [email protected]