Sport and Health
In 2002 the World Health Organisation (WHO) World Health Report indicated that mortality, morbidity and disability attributed to the major non-communicable diseases accounted for over 60% of all deaths, and unhealthy diets and physical inactivity were among the leading causes of these diseases.
Sport and physical activity are crucial for life-long healthy living. Sport and play improve health and well-being, extend life expectancy and reduce the likelihood of several non-communicable diseases including heart disease.
Regular physical activity and play are essential for physical, mental, psychological and social development. Good habits start early: The important role of physical education is demonstrated by the fact that children who exercise are more likely to stay physically active as adults. Sport also plays a major positive role in one’s emotional health, and allows to build valuable social connections, often offering opportunities for play and self-expression.
Recognizing the important links between sport, physical activity and health, in 2004 the WHO adopted the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health and a Resolution Health Promotion and Healthy lifestyles. Both documents emphasize the importance to start the practice of adapted physical activity early in childhood.
In 2004, the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS) was the latest United Nations system organisation to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to involve the world of sport more actively in fighting the epidemic.