In Italy sport is no more for all

Movement is a vital necessity, it has been for thousands of years when man had to move to get food to live, continues to be a biological and psychological urge for the human being that grows and develops through the acquisition of freedom of movement. The scourge of sedentariness continues to haunt us so much that we have always been among the least active Europeans in terms of sports and, moreover, in the last 20 years the percentage of practitioners has grown only 5.7% while sedentary people have decreased only 2%. The only data that has increased dramatically is the prevalence of overweight and obesity that grows with age, so much so that if excess weight affects 1 in 4 children, the proportion almost doubles among adults, reaching 46.1 percent among people over-18.

Sport is not for everyone. The concept that sports should be declined to the measure of each has not found the diffusion that it would have deserved. It would have been a great change in mentality to put it into practice, to overcome the psychological and social barriers that prevent this type of affirmation. This has not happened, on the contrary, sedentariness has found instead wide diffusion. This is revealed by the latest survey conducted by UISP and SVIMEZ in collaboration with Sport and Health on “The social and health cost of sedentariness”.

Knowledge of the data is the basis of any sports policy that you want to undertake. Unfortunately, these results say, once again, that in the Centre-North people practice sports more frequently. In fact, 42% of adults practice sport on an ongoing basis and 26.8% on an occasional basis. On the contrary, in the Center-South, these figures drop to 27.2% and 33.2%. The worst data concerns young people. Among the under-16s in the South, only 8.6% practice sports at a competitive level, compared to 24.8% of those who live in the Center-North. On the other hand, those who play sports on an ongoing basis but without competing are 45.3% in the South and 53.7% in the North. Therefore, in the South, 54% of young people play sports, while in the North they make up 78%. In the South, about a quarter of young people under 16 participate in sports on an occasional basis, while this figure corresponds to only 7% of those residing in the North. Moreover, the rate of sedentary children and young people in the South is 21.9%, compared with 14.4% in the Centre-North.

Finally, other ISTAT data relate well to these new results, highlighting that the educational qualification and sedentariness of parents and economic resources of the family are valid predictors of the sports involvement of young people. Young people who live in families with lower socio-cultural status present the highest levels of sedentariness: 32.1% of those who live in families whose parents have at most compulsory schooling compared with 12.9% of those who live in families in which at least one parent has a university degree. Young people whose parents state that they do not practice sports and physical activity have a sedentary lifestyle to the extent of 47.9% if both parents are sedentary versus 9.8% if both parents lead a physically active lifestyle.

We hope that the approval of the Senate on the constitutional bill that includes the right of access to sport as a tool for the development of the person can determine a process of building programmatic actions to spread a physically active lifestyle in the country.

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