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25/9/2017

“City of good thoughts” inspires a new joint action call for a healthy lifestyle



Photos: European Commission.

 

The Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union focused on the role of coaches in society and that was also the topic for the first presidency conference in June 2017. The second presidency conference in Tartu, the “city of good thoughts”, in September 2017 focused more broadly on dual careers and healthy lifestyle and – significantly to our sector – produced a new advocacy tool for health enhancing physical activity.

 

The conference gathered policy makers, athletes and sport administrators to discuss how to battle the growing trend of physical inactivity among Europeans, but most importantly, it provided the backdrop for an announcement on a new joint action plan. The Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle brings together three EU Commissions to provide a roadmap of concrete (and sometimes not so concrete) actions towards a healthier population. Tibor Navracsics, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Vytenis Andriukaitis, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, and Mario Milouchev, representing the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, all signed the call at the conference.

 

With the promise of more funding and regular meetings to discuss challenges revolving around promoting and attaining healthy lifestyles, it will surely create more visibility and bring these sectors together to fight the inactivity pandemic.

 

The cost of inactivity is too high for us to ignore, as Europe can’t afford the 500 000 deaths and 80 billion euros it costs annually. These numbers raised the alarm already when ISCA and Cebr published the Costs of Physical Inactivity in Europe (“Inactivity Time Bomb”) research results in 2015, but it seems that the urgency has finally reached the highest political levels. The Tartu Call is therefore the latest tool our network can use to raise awareness and support for their actions.

 

Both the Tartu Call and the draft WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity show the importance of having a holistic approach to solving the problem. This is where joint action plans game to play and we do hope the three involved Commissioners will remain active players.

 

By Laura Maria Tiidla, ISCA

ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby comments on the Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle here