Southerners do not play sports and die earlier. Svimez: This is what a sedentary lifestyle is costing us

Nearly half of southerners do not practice any sport, compared to 30% in the Center-North. Moreover, barely 20% of the inhabitants of the South do sports continuously. The consequences of this state of affairs are obvious: 12.08% of adults in the South are obese compared to about 10% in the Center-Northnearly one in three in the the age group between 6 and 17 years old is overweight in the south, compared to one in five boys in the Centre-Nord region, with obvious and substantial social costs for the national health system. Of research”The social and health cost of a sedentary lifestyle, conducted by SVIMEZ in collaboration with the UISP and Sport e Salute, it also emerges that in regions – especially those in the south – where the activity rate and / or the employment rate is lower, the propensity to physical inactivity increases with the relative social and economic cost to the community. And again, those who practice sport regularly see their health expenditure reduced by 97 euros, while the occasional practice of sporting activities has no significant effect on health expenditure. In place, those who do not play sports they watch him grow own health costs of 52 euros. Habits and lifestyles are also important in explaining household health expenditure. A smoker spends 87 euros more, while a person who drinks every day spends 40 euros more.
The investigation, presented today in the conference room of the Olympic stadium in the presence of President Uisp Tiziano Pesce, the director of Svimez Luca Bianchi, the President of Sport and Health Vito Cozzoli and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Andrea Costa, also highlights that in the South there is both a deficit on the supply side (sports infrastructure) and on the demand side (socio-cultural habits). Unsurprisingly, healthy life expectancy from age 65 for adults in the south is still 3 years lower than for adults in the center-north.
Among the other differences that appear, there is the one that concerns the type of sports facility:

  • in the northern regions, more than one in two athletes attend a state-owned and/or managed sports facility,
  • in the South only 37.5% practice sport in a public establishment, while 62.5% can only practice sport in one establishment

A gap inevitably generated by a lower distribution of public sports facilities in the southern and island regions.
If the analysis is carried out at regional level, it can be seen that the supply of public sports facilities is more lacking in Sicily, where almost all (90%) practice sport in privately managed facilities. The regions with the lowest shares are Campania and Sicily with values ​​around 23%, followed by Calabria and Puglia where sports in public facilities account for around 30%.
The South is the mirror image of the Centre-North: in the southern regions are in fact the lowest peaks of continuous sporting activity and the highest peaks of sedentariness. The sedentary are mainly concentrated in Sicily (55.22%) and Molise (53.04%), but also in Basilicata, Calabria And Campania there are inactive shares of half the population (a little above 51%), values ​​that fall into Puglia (43.68%) and in Abruzzo And Sardinia. In some regions, such as Campaniathere is also a smoking rate of 28.36%, higher than the southern average (26.25%).

What intervention policies does the SVIMEZ, UISP and Sport and Health study propose?
First of all, strengthen public intervention in the sports sector, it is fundamental to the production of widespread social benefits for the community. And the same goes for the sustainability of investments in sports facilities, because the sports sector, especially when it comes to facilities, is capital-intensive and has the lowest rates of return in the economy. Italian. Then you must bet on plant care pre-existing, which is a crucial factor for the provision of a quality service. The hope, especially after the pandemic, is that of a return to usual sports practices with a consequent increase in members and turnover in the sector. In addition, it is necessary to work so that the public intervention, from the resources of the PNRR, can give a new impetus to the sector, both to improve the state of psychophysical health of the community and to minimize unhealthy lifestyles, in particular among younger generations.

For the director of Svimez Luca Bianchi, “Research clearly highlights the existence of territorial differences in the spread of sports practice, with significant effects on health, especially of children in the South It is crucial, especially for the South, to be able to fully seize the opportunity of the means allocated by the PNRR. This will not only overcome the crisis in the sports sector exacerbated by the pandemic, but above all reduce the inequalities between citizens and territories, exacerbated by the pandemic but already existing, with the aim of improving the state of psychophysical health of communities and jointly in the medium and long term to reduce the public and private costs associated with sedentary and unhealthy lifestyles”. “Research demonstrates a correlation between active lifestyles and continued physical and sports practice, with the possibility of containing health expenses and improving well-being. says Tiziano Pesce, national president of the Uisp – the motivation is to provide indications addressed to public decision-makers and political leaders to encourage the planning of investments in social and sport for all and in basic sports equipment, with particular reference to the South. In this respect, the means deployed by the PNRR – National Recovery and Resilience Plan represent a real opportunity”.

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