Four ways to encourage the French to be physically active

As we know, many (too many) French people are stuck between bad habits, teleworking and lack of time. Last February, the National Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Safety (ANSES) published a shocking figure: “95% of the French adult population” are too sedentary. Second complicating factor: Our healthcare system is certainly very efficient on the curative side… but much less so on the preventive side. And it’s deteriorating at a rapid rate between a shortage of caregivers, an aging population and a rise in chronic diseases.

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, have been committed to pushing this issue through for ten years. “Ten years ago, our white paper suggested getting children physically active from elementary school as a first step,” recalled Stéphanie Pistre, founder of Actors of Prevention, during a press conference this Thursday. . We weren’t very ambitious, we offered a quarter of an hour a day… The re-elected president promised half an hour. It’s taken ten years… but we’re thrilled! Another proposal from the club that ended up in Emmanuel Macron’s program: full and free health checks at the ages of 25, 45 and 60.

Third reason for hope: Brigitte Bourguignon has become Minister for Health and Prevention. “For us, this is a strong signal that prevention must be everyone’s concern,” says Thierry Doll, President of Active FNEAPL (National Federation of Physical, Sports and Leisure Activities Companies). As the Paris 2024 Olympics prepares, some are brimming with ideas to fulfill this stated desire for better prevention before the disease invites life. and 20 minutes four selected.

Creation of “prevention oases” in rural areas

“The goal is to make prevention attractive and accessible, especially in rural areas,” explains Stéphanie Pistre. We envisioned “Oases of Prevention,” third places that could provide an answer to the problem of medical deserts. We would offer yoga classes, zumba, gentle gymnastics, health check-ups, vaccinations… But also support for young parents to seek advice in the first 1,000 days to raise awareness about stroke while France has a major knowledge lag . They are also places of life where isolated people can meet. And thus also a remedy for the loneliness that sometimes leads to psychological problems. Where can we imagine these oases of prevention? “We can start by finding a place near City Hall, in a supermarket…” she continues.

Facilitating access to gyms

“The ANSES study is alarming, but only confirms other surveys that go in the same direction,” warns Thierry Doll. The Covid-19 has only exacerbated this sedentary lifestyle. But it will be difficult to get everyone moving again! As proof, gyms have lost between 25% and 30% of customers. It could be interesting for him to think about an innovative taxation of sports facilities. “In the form of a tax exemption for the first subscription to a gym for students, for precarious people,” specifies the latter, who says he is in talks with the government. And if you half-heartedly come up with another idea: sports halls could accommodate school children outside of peak times.

Expand the Pass’Sport

Under the previous mandate, a device aimed precisely at encouraging young people far from physical activity to get them back into sport: the Pass’Sport. An amount of 50 euros that is only paid 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 of age). “We warned you before the launch: we can spend these 50 euros on a pair of Nike instead of doing sports,” criticized Thierry Doll. At the moment it stops at 18 but we might extend it later. »

Second limit that could jump: this sum can only be spent in the associative area, for example to register in a football club. Will a future version extend this mechanism to the amount distributed, the benefiting public and the place to spend money, so that other young people who are particularly far from sports can taste sweat, collective, effort and a smile rediscover?

Give the French clearer benchmarks

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

“Another avenue would be the birth of an Activescore based on the Nutriscore model,” adds Thierry Doll. Depending on the age, the situation of the person, his work, he is told to do this or that physical exercise for so long. “If the legislature does not slow down an announcement for the time being, the new Minister of Prevention is expected at the turn.

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