According to the results of the latest Eurobarometer survey on sport and physical activity, 59% of European Union citizens never or seldom exercise or play sport, while 41% do so at least once a week.

Northern Europe is more physically active than the South and East. 70% of respondents in Sweden said they exercise or play sport at least once a week, just ahead of Denmark (68%) and Finland (66%), followed by the Netherlands (58%) and Luxembourg (54%). At the other end of the scale, 78% never do so in Bulgaria, followed by Malta (75%), Portugal (64%), Romania (60%) and Italy (60%).

Commenting on the findings, Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner responsible for sport, said: “The results of the Eurobarometer confirm the need for measures to encourage more people to make sport and physical activity a part of their daily lives. This is crucial, not only in terms of an individual’s health, wellbeing and integration, but also because of the significant economic costs resulting from physical inactivity. The Commission is committed to supporting Member States in efforts to encourage the public to be more active. We will implement the recently adopted Council Recommendation on health-enhancing physical activity and move ahead with plans for a European Week of Sport. The new Erasmus+ programme will also – for the first time – provide funding for transnational initiatives to promote sport and physical activity.”

The survey shows that local authorities in particular could do more to encourage citizens to be physically active. While 74% of respondents believe that local sport clubs and other providers provide sufficient opportunities for this, 39% think their local authorities are not doing enough.


This Eurobarometer survey was carried out for the European Commission by the TNS Opinion & Social network in the 28 Member States between 23 November and 2 December 2013. Nearly 28 000 respondents from different social and population groups took part in the poll. The survey follows comparable surveys conducted in 2002 and 2009, and will contribute to providing data to support the development of policies to promote sport and physical activity.

Key findings from survey:

1. How often do you exercise or play sport?

2. How often do you engage in other physical activity?

For more information


Eurobarometer survey on sport and physical activity

The EU’s role in sport