In 2018, the government plans to allocate unprecedented resources for physical culture. When compared to 2015, the expenditures for this purpose will increase by 93% and will include investments in sports infrastructure and projects aimed at children and seniors. Witold Bańko’s ministry in this way wants to encourage Poles to engage in physical activity, which should translate into the country’s improved economic situation. Increasing Poles’ sporting activity was one of the topics discussed at the 2nd Health Congress of Employers of Poland.
The World Health Organisation recommends children and young people aged 5–17 to do at least 60 minutes of aerobic work-out a day. When it comes to older people, WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. Such a dose of physical activity will help people to maintain the correct body weight and prevent many non-infectious diseases. According to surveys conducted by the Ministry of Sport and Tourism even half the Poland’s population fail to meet these standards.
“Only 39 percent of Poles declare that they hit those standards, which means that to a certain extent they are physically active,” Witold Bańka, Minister of Sport and Tourism, told Newseria Biznes.
Witold Bańka has no doubts that the physical activity of Poles greatly impacts on the standing of the healthcare system and the economy at large. Not only are healthy citizens a lesser burden on the state budget, but they also generate extra income, since they can work longer and do not use sick leaves excessively. According to the Ministry of Sport and Tourism a higher level of physical activity among Poles would contribute to a significant decrease in the number of those suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
“If that part of Polish population who say they are not physically active, or at least half of them, decided to try working out, it would have a tremendous impact on the economy, with costs of absenteeism dropping by about PLN 3 bn and savings in the healthcare budget running up to PLN 440-500,” Witold Bańka said.
The Minister argues that encouraging Poles to greater physical activity is one of the Ministry’s priorities. In 2018, the Ministry plans to launch a number of projects aimed at promoting sports among various age groups, including children, adults and seniors. Minister Bańka counts on cooperation with the business circles in this respect, as a healthy and active society also yields great benefits for entrepreneurs.
“Business circles should recognise the role of corporate social responsibility especially in projects connected with sports, in sponsoring. Healthy and active employees can work much more effectively for their employers. This is a normal state of affairs,” said the Minister.
As early as in autumn, the Ministry reported about the unprecedented funds which it plans to allocate for public sports in 2018.
“This year, when compared to 2015, we increased funds for public sports alone by 93 percent, including for the sporting activities of children and adolescents. Today, this amounts to much more than PLN 330 m, which we spend on various support projects aimed at various age groups, from youngest and slightly older children, to adolescents, to seniors,” Witold Bańka said.
In addition to the aforementioned projects, the Ministry of Sport and Tourism also plans to renovate existing sports facilities and invest in creating new ones. The Ministry also launched the Open Activity Zones programme, consisting in developing small sports and recreational infrastructure at the local level.