A special Eurobarometer survey on sport and physical activity was carried out by TNS Opinion & Social network in late 2013 in the 28 EU Member States. It follows comparable surveys conducted in 2002 and 2009, and contributes to providing information to support the development of policies to promote sport and physical activity.
The results show that while 41% of European citizens exercise or play sport at least once a week, a worrying 59% of respondents say that they never or seldom do so. The number of people saying they never exercise or play sport has increased by three percentage points since the 2009 survey (from 39% to 42%). The findings show large differences among Member States; Northern Europe is more physically active than the South and East (more detailed information on country results can be found in the national factsheets). Overall, men in the EU exercise, play sport or engage in other physical activity more than women.
European citizens' sedentary behaviour has not improved in the last decade.On a usual day, about two-thirds (69%) of respondents spend between 2.5 and 8.5 hours sitting (an increase of five percentage points compared with 2002), while 11% sit for more than 8.5 hours and 17% for 2.5 hours or less. It is notable that in some of the countries where respondents spend a long time sitting down the proportion of citizens who exercise or play sport on a regular basis tends to be high. By contrast, some countries have high proportions of respondents who never or seldom exercise or play sport, despite seeing low average times for sitting down. For the EU as a whole, however, there is a tendency that people who exercise or play sport regularly are less likely sitting down more than 8.5 hours per day (6%), compared to those who do not exercise or play sport at all (12%).
Improving health and well-being are the main motivators to sport participation. Sport or physical activity takes place in a wide range of locations, most commonly in parks and outdoors or at home.
The survey was launched and coordinated by the 'Sport Unit' within Directorate-General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) together with the 'Strategy, Corporate Communication Actions and Eurobarometer Unit' from Directorate-General for Communication (DG COMM).