WHO and International Olympic Committee to improve health through sport
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today signed an agreement to work together to promote health through sport and physical activity. This collaboration is timely. The current COVID-19 pandemic is particularly affecting people with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The agreement has a special focus on preventing NCDs through sport. Physical activity helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various types of cancer (including breast cancer and colon cancer).
Other areas of collaboration include working with host countries to ensure the health of athletes, supporters, and workers at the games as well as addressing NCD risk factors, including water quality and air pollution. The two institutions will also work to ensure that the games leave a healthy legacy in host countries through enhanced awareness of the value of sport and physical activity. The two organizations also intend to work together to promote grassroots and community sports programmes that have a further reach within the general public, particularly among girls, older people and people living with disability who may find it harder to keep active and healthy.
Globally, WHO estimates that 1 in 4 adults is not active enough and more than 80% of the world's adolescent population is insufficiently physically active. The new partnership will bring together the sports and health sectors at international, regional, and national levels to reach the global goal of increasing physical activity by 15%, as set out in the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity.