Less than

30 minutes

of moderate activity during the day at the day-care centre.

Studies show that children only do less than half an hour of moderate physical activity a day at the day-care centre. The intensity of moderate physical activity equals walking at a brisk pace.

Children spend almost two thirds of their day at the day-care centre sitting or standing.

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Physical activity during the school day is particularly important for pupils who take little exercise. Pupils who are the least active accumulate

44 %

of their daily physical activity during the school day.

This group does less than half an hour of moderate physical activity a day.

Sitting also continues to be a major part of the school day: pupils accumulate 40 % of their daily sedentary time at school.

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Schoolchildren’s screen time exceeds

2 hours a day.

78% of school-age children spend more than two hours in front of a television or computer screen on school days. On weekends, this time almost doubles.

Long periods spent in front of screens account for a major part of children’s sedentary time during the day.

Cutting screen time down to moderate levels could improve children and young people’s health and give them more time for other activities.

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Cardiorespiratory fitness protects against burnout. Men with a low fitness level have a

4 times

higher risk of losing their ability to work than men who are physically fit.

Good cardiorespiratory fitness gives protection against burnout and helps maintain ability to work, whereas the careers of those with a poor level of physical fitness are under threat.

Very low levels of fitness often also predict early retirement on disability pension.

The average time spent commuting in Finland is

44 minutes a day.

30 minutes of walking or cycling a day is enough to meet the recommendation for health-enhancing physical exercise.

Workers who are physically active 2 to 3 times a week take 4½ sick days a year less than those who are active at most once a week.

Smart commuting improves your welfare.

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Only

a few per cent

of those in retirement age comply with the recommendation for physical activity regarding both endurance and strength training. In particular, older people should do more strength and balance training

Every year 13,000 people develop memory disorders. An additional 120,000 suffer from mild cognitive impairment.

The costs of caring for a person with a memory disorder amount to approx. EUR 40,000 a year, most of this sum being spent on institutional care. Regular physical activity combined with a social lifestyle prevents memory disorders.

One out of three persons aged 75 and over suffers from loneliness. Participating in outdoor exercise and physical activity together improves the functional capacity and mobility of older persons who are lonely, as well as offering them opportunities for making new friends.

In 2010, the costs of acute treatment of injuries caused by falls were EUR 45 million. Action plans for preventing falls, which include strength and balance training, could prevent one hip fracture out of three.

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Time spent sitting is

7 hours.

Finnish adults sit, lie or stand still for more than three quarters of their waking hours.

On average, Finnish people aged 25−64 spend more than seven hours a day sitting.

Studies have linked a high proportion of time spent sitting to overweight and a large waist girth as well as disturbances in glucose metabolism, among other things.

For those who spend more than 7 hours a day sitting, each additional sedentary hour increases the risk of premature death by 5 %.

In Finnish people who spend over 9 hours a day sitting, sedentary behaviours are linked to obesity, inadequate sleep and a higher number physician visits.

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Sedentary behaviour and diabetes – Costs

27 %

According to WHO calculations, 27 % of diabetes risks are caused by sedentary behaviour. The costs of diabetes have more than doubled over the last ten years.

Of the EUR 17.1 billion spent on health care in 2007, the total costs of medical care for diabetics and costs of productivity loss accounted for EUR 2.7 billion in total.

Regular physical activity improves blood sugar balance, increases the body’s insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar.

According to studies, type 2 diabetes alone results in total costs of over EUR 2 billion a year.

Socioeconomic differences

While general levels of health and welfare among Finnish people have improved steadily, the distribution of health and welfare among the population is increasingly unequal. This inequality is seen between the socioeconomic groups in almost all dimensions of health and welfare.

The employment rate would reach around 75 % by 2050 if the health levels of the most highly educated group could also be reached in other groups.

The difference in the life expectancy of the highest and the lowest socioeconomic group increased from 7.4 years to 12.5 years in men and from 3.9 to 6.8 years in women between 1988 and 2007. Incapacity for work related to musculoskeletal diseases in men aged 50–64 in physically strenuous occupations was up to 14 times the rate of those in low-risk occupations.

In 2014, 59 % of general upper secondary school students participated in half an hour of physical activity in their free time at least four times a week. This figure for those in vocational education and training was 44 %.

The societal costs of physical inactivity

3,2 and 7,5 billion euros

It can be concluded that the societal costs of physical inactivity are several biollion euros every year.

The costs are increasing because of ageing and the prevalence of many noncommunicable diseases is increasing in Finnish population.

The number of people

aged 75 and over

will have more than doubled by 2040.

The most important reasons for care service use are mobility problems and memory disorders.

Regular and individually planned physical training of increasing intensity is an effective way of improving functional capacity, especially for older people with a low level of fitness.

To remember: Today’s older people enjoy better health and functional capacity at retirement than the previous age classes.

To improve: The National Institute for Health and Welfare has estimated that if the entire older population had the same level of functional capacity as the most highly educated group, the costs of care and attention could be reduced by as much as one half.

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