Four ways to encourage the French to do physical activity

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As we know, between bad habits, teleworking and lack of time, many (too many) French people are sedentary. Last February, the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (Anses) published a shocking figure: “95% of the adult French population” is too sedentary. Second aggravating factor: our health system is certainly very efficient on the curative side… but much less on the prevention side. And it is deteriorating at high speed, between a lack of caregivers, an aging population and the increase in chronic pathologies.

The observation is therefore clear: it is time for France to talk about prevention. The Actors of Prevention, an association that brings together professionals from all walks of life, phosphorus and has been campaigning for ten years to impose this subject. “Ten years ago, our white paper proposed as a first measure to have children practice physical activity from primary school, recalls Stéphanie Pistre, founder of Actors of Prevention, during a press conference this Thursday. . We hadn’t been very ambitious, we were offering a quarter of an hour a day… The re-elected president promises half an hour. It took ten years… but we are delighted! Another proposal from the association which ended up in Emmanuel Macron’s program: complete and free health check-ups at 25, 45 and 60 years old.

Third reason for hope: Brigitte Bourguignon has become Minister of Health and Prevention. “For us, this is a strong signal, prevention must be everyone’s concern,” says Thierry Doll, president of Active FNEAPL (National Federation of Physical, Sports and Leisure Activities Companies). While the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 are being prepared, some are full of ideas for this declared desire to improve prevention to materialize before the disease invites itself into life. And 20 minutes selected four.

Creating “prevention oases” in rural areas

“The objective is to make prevention attractive and accessible, particularly in rural areas,” introduces Stéphanie Pistre. We imagined “oases of prevention”, third places that could constitute an answer to the problem of medical deserts. We would offer yoga classes, zumba, soft gym, screening, vaccination… But also support for young parents to get advice on the first 1,000 days, raise awareness about stroke while the France has a big delay in knowledge. They are also places of life, where isolated people can meet. And therefore also a way to fight against loneliness, which sometimes leads to psychological problems. Where can we imagine these oases of prevention? “We can start by finding a space near the town hall, in a supermarket…”, she continues.

Facilitate access to gyms

“The ANSES study is alarming, but it only confirms other surveys that go in the same direction, warns Thierry Doll. The Covid-19 has only accentuated this sedentary lifestyle. But it will be difficult to get everyone back on the move! As proof: gyms have lost between 25 and 30% of customers. For him, thinking about innovative taxation for sports venues could be an interesting avenue. “In the form of a tax exemption for the first subscription to a gym for students, for precarious people”, specifies the latter, who claims to be in discussion with the government. And who, half-heartedly, has another idea: sports halls could accommodate schoolchildren during off-peak hours.

Expand the Pass’Sport

Under the previous mandate, a device was aimed precisely at encouraging young people far from physical activity to put them back into sport: the Pass’Sport. An envelope of 50 euros paid only to French people between the ages of 6 and 17 who receive either the back-to-school allowance, the education allowance for disabled children or the allowance for disabled adults (between 16 and 18 years old). “We warned them from the launch: we can spend these 50 euros on a pair of Nike rather than going to play sports, critic Thierry Doll. For now, it stops at 18, but we could extend it later. »

Second limit which could jump: this sum can be spent only in the associative sector, to register in a football club, for example. Will a future version extend this mechanism to the amount distributed, to the beneficiary public and to the place where one can spend so that other young people, particularly distant from sport, rediscover the taste for sweat, collective, effort and a smile?

Give clearer benchmarks to the French

Many have in mind the requirement of 10,000 steps per day, but is it really enough? And for what age? Improving prevention could already go through clear, inclusive, age-appropriate communication campaigns, so that everyone knows what the minimum physical activity is to stay healthy. “It would be important to have a reference and a spectrum of activities that we do not necessarily know, adapted to the different moments of life, for example during pregnancy”, continues the founder of Actors of prevention.

“Another track would be to give birth to an Activescore, on the Nutriscore model, adds Thierry Doll. Depending on the age, the situation of the person, his job, he will be told to do this or that physical exercise for so long. “If for the moment, the legislative slow down any announcement, the new Minister of Prevention is expected at the turn.

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