Most Europeans today suffer from the effects of physical inactivity and sedentary behavior. The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched strategies aimed at getting Europeans to start moving and stop smoking over the next decade to help control the ill effects of sedentary lifestyles.
Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said, "Health systems across the region (Europe) risk being crippled by people suffering the effects of physical inactivity and sedentary behavior. To address this, we have developed the first physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region 2016-2025. Rates of overweight and obesity are rising dramatically in 46 of the 53 countries in its European region."
The WHO statement further added, "More than 50% of adults are overweight or obese; in several of those countries, the rate in the adult population is close to 70%. In some countries, more than 40% of 7- and 8-year-old boys are overweight, and more than 20% are obese. As part of the new strategy, the WHO's 53 European members have agreed to ensure their populations have equal and safe access to areas and infrastructure designed for exercise regardless of gender, age, income, education, ethnicity or disability."
Ministers of health from the WHO's 53 European members also signed up to an unprecedented road map to make tobacco a thing of the past over the next decade. They will enforce a series of anti-tobacco measures. It will include enforcing smoking bans, especially in children's environments, effectively banning tobacco advertising, curbing tobacco product placement in entertainment and increasing public awareness through educational initiatives to prevent young people from picking up the deadly habit.
Dr. Jakab said, "The generation growing up now cannot comprehend that people used to smoke on airplanes, buses, in restaurants or in offices. There is hard work ahead. Governments must fully implement the measures in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and define a common goal: a Europe where tobacco is not a social norm."
The WHO also singled out countries that have announced individual target year to end tobacco use in their populations: Ireland by 2025, Scotland by 2034, Finland by 2040. The WHO said, "They are paving the way to a tobacco-free future by introducing plain packaging, banning smoking in cars carrying children and aiming for a tobacco-free millennial generation."