WHO and International Olympic Committee Work Together to Promote Grassroots Sports & Health
Our soccer world is the perfect fit for promoting health through sports. Soccer is a game that can be played throughout a person’s entire life. Maybe there is someone we can introduce the game to and help get them active. Just look at the rates of obesity below. This is a global issue and each of us can help to make a difference.
1 in 4 adults and more than 80% of the world’s adolescents are NOT active enoughWorld Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) signed an agreement on May 15 to work together to promote health through sport and physical activity.
Focused on working to ensure the health of athletes, supporters, and workers at the games as well as fighting obesity and other health risk factors, including water quality and air pollution, the two institutions have a simple goal.
GOAL: To ensure that the games leave a healthy legacy in host countries through enhanced awareness of the value of sport and physical activity.
In addition, WHO and the IOC will work together to promote grassroots and community sports programs, particularly among girls, and people living with disabilities.
“Over the last few months in the current crisis, we have all seen how important sport and physical activity are for physical and mental health. Sport can save lives,” said International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
“As we are preparing for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe environment for all participants, we are happy and grateful that we can continue to rely on the valuable advice of WHO,” added Bach.
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight and 650 million were obese –
- 39% of adults aged 18 years plus overweight in 2016
- 13% were obese
- 340 million + Kids ages 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016
- 38.2 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2019
WHO defines overweight as a BMI equal to or more than 25, and obesity as a BMI equal to or more than 30. Charts and tables: WHO growth reference for children aged between 5–19 years
“The IOC calls on the governments of the world to include sport in their post-crisis support programs because of the important role of sport in the prevention of NCDs, but also of communicable diseases.”Thomas Bach, President – International Olympic Committee (IOC)
“I am pleased to formalize this longstanding partnership with the International Olympic Committee,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
“WHO works not only to respond to disease but also to help people realize their healthiest lives and this partnership will do exactly that,” said Dr. Tedros. “Physical activity is one of the keys to good health and well-being.”
Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Overweight children are likely to become obese adults. They are more likely than non-overweight children to develop diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age, which in turn are associated with a higher chance of premature death and disability.
Simple Guidelines to Help Prevent Obesity:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Limit total fat intake and shift fat consumption away from saturated fats to unsaturated fats
- Increase consumption of fruit, vegetables, pulses, whole grains and nuts
- Limit the intake of free sugars and salt.
Globally, WHO estimates that 1 in 4 adults is not active enough and more than 80% of the world’s adolescent population is insufficiently physically active. The new partnership will bring together the sports and health sectors at international, regional, and national levels to reach the global goal of increasing physical activity by 15%, as set out in the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity.
The key objectives of the collaboration are as follows:
- Objective 1: Joint action to support communications and advocacy for health and physical activity
- Objective 2: Align policy to strengthen the support on NCD prevention and healthier lifestyles through sport
- Objective 3: Strengthen the health preparedness and legacy of the Olympic Games
- Objective 4: Strengthen health promotion, policy and action through the Olympic Movement
- Objective 5: Support and strengthen collaboration on NCD prevention and physical activity promotion between the health and sports sectors