Smith Backs 100 Million More EU Citizens Active In Sport Vision

24 October 2010

SNP MEP Alyn Smith, an alternate member of the Parliament's Culture Committee has today (Friday) signed a petition to show his support for a campaign to increase the number of Europeans active in sport and physical activity to one hundred million by 2020.

The Scottish Association of Local Sports Councils have teamed up with International Sport and Culture Association and have written a letter to John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy asking him to support this vision.

Today, grass-root sport is engaging 40 % of all Europeans in physical activity on a regular basis. However, there is a considerable gap between European countries with regard to the degree of involvement of citizens in recreational sport and physical activity. The benefits of such a vision are that it will increase the quality of life and decrease the number of illnesses and deaths as physical inactivity alone is causing 10% of deaths in Europe. With Scotland being commonly referred to as “the sick man of Europe” Smith has fully declared his support for this common European vision.

Smith said:

“Official statistics show that Scotland has the second highest level of obesity in the developed world. For a country the size of Scotland, this statistic is hugely alarming and is down to Scots' sedentary lifestyles. However, our Norwegian neighbours, Swiss and Italians, are at the bottom end of the table highlighting the prevalent gap that exists.  

“It is vital that all governments educate, inform and encourage their citizens to engage in physical activity in order to avoid obesity and the diseases that result from this condition. It is important to start at grass-root level and encourage children in schools to partake in sports and extend the average P.E lesson.

“This ambitious and dynamic vision is a good starting point and will give impetus to the development of our common sector and hopefully bridge the considerable gap between European Countries with regard to the degree of involvement of citizens in recreational sport and physical activity.”