There are more and more non-athletes among Czechs

A third of Czechs do not play sports at all, according to the MultiSport Index survey. The number of non-athletes in the Czech Republic is increasing, which is why the Czech Republic pays over CZK 526 billion a year for healthcare. Up to 30% could be saved if people got more exercise. The biggest barriers for people are weak willpower and lack of time, and the situation is worsened by the rising cost of sports facilities due to energy prices. On the other hand, more and more Czechs are doing sport to improve their mental health and relieve stress.
The MultiSport Index survey has been conducted by the NMS agency since 2019, and today MultiSport presented its results to the public for the first time at a joint press conference with experts from the 1st Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport of Charles University and the Czech Chamber of Fitness.
53% of Czechs do sports at least once a week, which is less than a year ago. On the other hand, the number of those who do not exercise at all has increased to 32%, down from two percentage points a year ago. While there has been a slight increase in the number of young athletes, there has been a significant increase in the number of people over 55 who do not exercise even once a month. The disparate impact of two years of the coronavirus pandemic may also be to blame.
Moreover, the decline of athletes may be exacerbated by the current economic situation. Already in 2021, 37% of the respondents have already encountered an increase in the price of sports facilities. Due to high energy prices, all sports venues in the MultiSport partner network and probably almost all in the Czech Republic will now or have already acceded to it. At the same time, Czechs are also affected by high inflation, so they are figuring out what to save on.
Movement is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and lack of it can lead to a range of health problems. According to surveys, Czechs also try to save money on food. Unfortunately, in many cases, this means that they will eat less healthily. In combination with a reduction in sports activities, this can lead to an overall deterioration in the health of the Czech population,” warns nutrition therapist Šárka Knížková from the 1st Faculty of Medicine of Charles University.
The impact of the decline of movement in the Czech Republic is very concrete. The total expenditure on health care will reach CZK 526 billion in 2020, i.e. over 9% of GDP. Almost 90% of this amount comes from public sources, and over CZK 60 billion a year is paid by households themselves.
“If Czechs had more exercise, it would be possible to reduce healthcare costs by 25 to 30 percent. We would therefore save about CZK 150 billion. The Czech Republic has a very high per capita consumption of medicines and the highest frequency of visits to doctors in Europe. More exercise could reduce the use of medicines by up to a third. Lack of exercise is also one of the main causes of a number of serious diseases. For example, according to a 2015 study, the risk of heart attack can be reduced by up to 35 per cent if we exercise for ten minutes every day,” comments Professor Václav Bunc from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport at the Charles University.
Health care costs are also rising because the number of people suffering from obesity in the Czech Republic has increased by about a fifth over the past 20 years. Those people are up to 80% likely to become type 2 diabetics and hypertensives, Bunce said. There are currently about one million diabetics (type 2 DM) in the Czech Republic.
According to the results of MultiSport, concern for one’s own health is not what motivates Czechs to exercise. In fact, fewer people are exercising for better fitness or to look better. On the contrary, more and more Czechs are exercising to reduce stress or to feel better mentally. Most often, lack of time or motivation prevents them from exercising. Too busy a schedule is cited as an obstacle by 59% of respondents, and weak willpower by one percentage point more.

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