Sport, gap between northern and southern Italy: lower shares in Campania and Sicily

the Differences between northern and southern Italy curb the spread of physical practice and sports, with negative consequences for health, public spending and the way of life of the population, especially for minors. In the Center and North, 42% of the adult population practice sport regularly and 26.8% occasionally. In the South, the percentages are reversed: the majority practice sport occasionally – 33.2% – while the minority practice it regularly (27.2%). This is what emerges from the research “The social and health cost of a sedentary lifestyle”, carried out by Svimez and of iuspwith the support of Sport and Health Spa. The research was presented today in Rome, in the conference room of the Olympic stadium, by Vito Cozzolipresident of Sport e Salute spa; Tiziano PesceJPSU National President; Luca Bianchi, director of Svimez. The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health participated, Andrea Costa.

The gap, it is explained, is reflected in the percentage of sedentary people, with particular reference to minors: 15% in the Centre-North and 22% in the Centre-South. In the South, life expectancy is decreasing and remains 3 years lower than that of adults in the Centre-North. The research investigated the territorial differences in the practice of sport and the consequences on lifestyles, making it possible to deepen specific knowledge of the sector in order to multiply actions to promote physical activity and therefore the well-being of citizens. Nearly half of southerners do not practice any sport, compared to 30% in the Center and North. Besides only 20% of people in the South play 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 North, nearly one in three in the 6-17 age group is overweight in the South, against one in five boys in the Center and the North.

On average, those who practice sport regularly see their health expenditure decrease by 97 euros while those who do not practice sport see their health expenditure increase by 52 euros. Habits and lifestyles are also important in explaining family health expenditure: a smoker spends 87 euros more per year. The Covid crisis has aggravated the situation, public sports facilities penalize users from the South, for this we need structural interventions. The research has studied the sports habits of Italians with the aim of verifying the relationship that exists between physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle, also with regard to supply and demand conditions in the different Italian regions. , with particular reference to the South. The research also set itself the objective of estimating the economic impact of the phenomenon of physical inactivity on the national health system, through the use of statistical and econometric techniques.

Finally, the differences in sporting skills between the South and the rest of the country were studied. In the spread of sports practice, socio-cultural inequalities also play a role. The attitude towards the practice of sport is not homogeneous in the different regions of the country, also due to the different availability of facilities and organized structures. The research studied the lifestyles and behaviors of the sample in order to dig deeper into the habits regarding the degree of activity and the sedentary lifestyle in Italy, in particular with regard to the changes and restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic of last year. the 26.2% of respondents say they do not practice any sport. However, the sports practice of adults shows on the whole a certain homogeneity between the Centre-North and the South, compared to the sample of children under 16 where the greatest differences appear. It is in fact among those under 16 living in the South that there appears to be a considerable gap in the practice of competitive sport, which is equal to8.6% of total under-16s surveyedthree times less than in the Center and the North (24.8%).

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Too, the rate of sedentary children and young people in the South is nearly 22% compared to 15% in the Centre-North. Finally, sports practice among minors appears to be much more sporadic in the South and in the Islands – 24.2% – if not absent. Among the other differences that stand out, there is that concerning the type of sports facility: in the northern regions more than one athlete in two uses a public and/or managed sports facility, in the south only 37.5% practice a sport in a public establishment, while 62.5% can only play sports in a private 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 the regional level, it can be seen that the supply of public sports facilities is the most in deficit 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 the practice of sport in public establishments represents 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. Sedentary people are concentrated mainly in Sicily – 55.22% – and Molise – 53.04% -, but also in Basilicata, Calabria and Campania, there are shares of inactive people exceeding half of the population – just above 51% -, values ​​which fall rather in Puglia – 43.68% – and in Abruzzo and Sardinia. In some regions, such as Campania, this is compounded by a smoking rate of 28.36%, higher than the average for the south (26.25%). The research highlights how investments in sports equipment appear to be crucial to promote sports practicein particular categories of fragile subjects and those at risk of social exclusion, and to encourage and support the sporting practice of the youngest target of children and adolescents.

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In this sense, the involvement of local authorities and the territorial management of sports associations appears fundamental both for the implementation of these regional programs and the implementation of specific actions, and for the maintenance of existing and newly built equipment. . Finally, it is precisely at the local level that it seems appropriate to activate a permanent network of listening and monitoring of the needs and local demand for sport, in particular of the most fragile categories, minors, the elderly, the disabled.

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