Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) researchers, together with the Ministry of Health (SAM), are participating in a European Intergovernmental Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) activity, "Environmental Factors Determining the Physical Activity of the Population."
These activities will create a sustainable international network of researchers and policy makers in 34 countries to help identify and better understand the factors having the biggest impact on participation of people in physical activities.
Physical Inactivity - Increases Risk
A large proportion of physically inactive people in the world are cause for alarm: 46% of European Union citizens (51% of the Lithuanian population) never exercise or engage in sports. In addition, 81% of the world's children (and about 90% of Lithuanian children) do not reach the World Health Organisation's recommended daily exercise levels.
In our country, the share of the insufficiently active adult population is 51% of the population. This costs the state on average about 300 million. Chronic non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, are among the most common diseases. They are influenced by a passive lifestyle and one of the leading causes of death.
Therefore, it is very important to find out what factors could increase the involvement of the population in health-enhancing physical activity and sports. This, in turn, would save health care and social security costs and improve people's quality of life.
Scientists and Ministry are Joining Forces
MRU researchers Prof. Dr. Vilma Čingiene and Dr. Mantas Dilys are carrying out an international project that may provide answers. It envisages that within four years, factors influencing physical activity in the family, home, school, workplace, the learning environment of the Third Age University, as well as the communities of the elderly, will be examined. In addition, the environment of socially excluded people and the unemployed will be identified. A multidisciplinary European network of existing and young researchers will be set up. A standardized tool for identifying determinants of physical activity and a permanent database will be established. The aim is to develop a sustainable strategy for the coordination and implementation of European research. In the Council of Europe's 2013 Recommendation for Promotion of Physical Activity in Various Sectors, provides for the knowledge and management of the determinants of physical activity in the population, based on close horizontal cross-sectoral cooperation.
Project Results Will Contribute to Formation of Lithuanian Health Policy
The results of project activities will be relevant to stakeholders in the health, sports, environment, social, transport, education and other sectors. This is true at both the policy-making level and in the non-governmental and private sectors. It will help better understand determinants of physical activity and highlight existing barriers. At the international level, it will help discover ways to create favourable conditions for physical activity using the established network of researchers and scientists. Project results will help to shape the policy of promoting physical activity among the Lithuanian population in a cross-sectoral aspect. In addition, it will contribute to the strategic goal set in the Lithuanian Health Strategy for a longer and healthier life expectancy of the Lithuanian people.