The fact that physical activity prolongs life is well known. Yet only half of adults reach the levels and frequency of motion recommended by doctors. In Italy alone, sedentary lifestyle is responsible for 14.6% of all deaths, equal to about 88,200 cases per year, and for an expenditure in terms of direct health costs of 1.6 billion euros per year. These are four pathologies that are most attributable to a lack of physical activity: breast and colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease. On the other hand, an increase in physical activity levels and the adoption of healthy lifestyles would result in savings for the National Health Service of over 2.3 billion euros in terms of specialist and outpatient diagnostic services, hospital treatments and drug therapies avoided. We talked about this with Professor Daniela Lucini, Head of Medicine at Humanitas.
One in two Italians does not do enough work
The data comes from the Istisan Report “Movement, sport and health: the importance of policies to promote physical activity and the impact on the community”, produced by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), the Ministry of Health and the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and recently presented at a conference at the ISS dedicated to the subject.
The research has shown that only one Italian in two, among adults, reaches the recommended levels of physical activity, while one child in four dedicates a maximum of one day a week (at least one hour) to the conduct of games of movement. In addition, about one in three Italians practice sports in their free time, although this
practice is more relevant to younger age groups.
“The promotion of physical activity – said Walter Ricciardi, President of the ISS – is certainly important at the level of the individual, but also and especially in a corporate vision with the involvement of different sectors (education, transport, environment, tax policies, media, industry, local authorities), so that physical activity can become directly integrated into everyone’s daily lives and so that the individual can be a promoter of their health by adopting an active lifestyle.
WHO data: a global problem
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) also speak for themselves: one in four adults in the world is not sufficiently active and 80% of adolescents do not reach the recommended levels of physical activity. In particular, in Europe more than one third of the adult population and two thirds of adolescents do not seem to be active enough.