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Sport and physical activity (2018)

special Eurobarometer 472

Main findings:

  • Nearly half of Europeans never exercise or play sport, and the proportion has increased gradually in recent years
  • Two in five Europeans (40%) exercise or play sport at least once a week, including 7% who do so regularly (at least five times per week). However, almost half of respondents (46%) never exercise or play sport.
  • Levels of participation have not changed substantially since 2013. However, the proportion of those who never exercise or play sport has increased from 42% to 46%, and this is a continuation of a gradual trend since 2009.
  • Less than half of respondents (44%) do some form of other physical activity (such as cycling, dancing or gardening) at least once a week, while 35% never do this kind of activity at all.
  • Europeans are now less likely to engage in other physical activities than in 2013. In particular, the proportion that never does this type of activity has increased, from 30% to 35%.
  • Overall, in the EU, men exercise, play sport or engage in other physical activity more than women. This disparity is particularly marked in the 15-24 age group, with young men tending to exercise or play sport on a regular basis considerably more than young women. The amount of regular activity that people do tends to decrease with age.
  • Engagement in sport and physical activity is also less prevalent among people with lower levels of education and among those with financial difficulties.
  • The proportion of people who exercise or play sport regularly or with some regularity is highest in Finland (69%), Sweden (67%) and Denmark (63%). Respondents are least likely to exercise or play sport in Bulgaria, Greece and Portugal (in each of these countries, 68% never exercise or play sport).
  • There are several countries where respondents are now much less likely to engage in sport than in 2013: Croatia, Latvia, Austria and Estonia. Levels of engagement have increased in Malta, Bulgaria and Cyprus.

How did The Netherlands score? Read Factsheet The Netherlands.

Or check the factsheets with data from the other countries.

Literatuurverwijzing: (2018). Sport and physical activity: special Eurobarometer 472. Brussels: European Commission.