Eastern European countries lead the way in physical activity – or do they?
Leisure Opportunities
Job search
Job Search
see all jobs
Latest job opportunities
star job
£28,000 - £33,000 (depending on experience)
Coventry, UK
Plymouth Marjon University
Grade 2, £16,735 - £17,361
Plymouth, UK
Essex Boot Camp
Loughton / Epping / Chigwell area
City University of London
£25,941 to £29,176
CitySport, London
énergie Fitness
Bognor Regis, UK

Eastern European countries lead the way in physical activity – or do they?

Job opportunities
Y Club
location: Manchester, UK
Leisure Focus
Up to £45,000 depending on experience
location: Braywick Leisure Centre, Maidenhead, UK, United Kingdom
£28,000 - £33,000 (depending on experience)
location: Coventry, UK
more jobs

The latest data on physical activity levels in the European Union seem to suggest that countries on the Eastern edge of the EU are more active than those in central Europe and the west.

Country-specific overviews on physical activity – published by the European Commission in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) – show that the EU’s most physically active countries are Greece and Hungary, closely followed by Slovakia and Romania.

According to the report, 85 per cent of the population in Greece and Hungary meet the WHO minimum recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week – or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week.

For Slovakia and Romania the figure is 81 per cent, while Germany (39 per cent), Ireland (31 per cent) and Austria (30 per cent) are among the least physically active.

The stats, however, should be approached with caution as there are discrepancies between the data sets from country to country and the methodologies used in gathering the data.

Many of the countries which have reported high number of active adults – including table-topping Hungary – do not have national monitoring centres or services for health and physical activity. In these cases, figures are based on WHO estimations using global surveillance systems.

The danger in trusting WHO estimations becomes clear when studying those countries with an established health monitoring system – such as Finland and Estonia – as differences between the figures published by the national systems and those by WHO are huge.

The Finnish national database shows that only 34 per cent of the adult population reached the WHO recommended levels in 2013 – but WHO claims that 74 per cent reached the levels in 2010.

For Estonia, the differences are even more stark – official Estonian government figures show that 36.7 per cent of the population met WHO recommended levels in 2014, but WHO estimates the figure at 85 per cent (in 2010).

The following table should, therefore, be treated with caution and additional examination of the individual country sheets are recommended (this can be done by clicking on the country name). The documents and further information can also be accessed by clicking here.


A list of all EU countries and the percentage of their populations that meet the WHO recommended physical activity levels for adults – (150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week). The individual country sheet can be accessed by clicking on the name of the country. The UK has been divided into its four home nations as each provided separate data. For an explanation on how the figures were sourced, click here

Hungary 85%

Greece 85%Slovakia 81%

Romania 81%Croatia 80%

Latvia 76%Czech Republic 72%

Denmark 67%Spain 66%

Sweden 66%Cyprus 65%

Italy 64%Scotland 64%

Belgium 63%Portugal 63%

Netherlands 61%Northern Ireland 61%

Luxembourg 61%England 60%

Malta 59%Germany 39%

Estonia 37%Finland 34%

Wales 31%Ireland 31%

Austria 30%Poland 20%

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
The latest data on physical activity levels in the European Union seem to suggest that countries on the Eastern edge of the EU are more active than those in central Europe and the west.

More News

1 - 15 of 43,328
23 Jun 2021
The number of active memberships across European health clubs fell by roughly 10 million – or 15.4 per cent – during 2020, a year defined ... More
22 Jun 2021
Peloton is expanding its reach within the online fitness market with the launch of a new Corporate Wellness platform. The = service will be made ... More
22 Jun 2021
Dr Giles Yeo, a geneticist at Cambridge University in the UK, has written a new book in which he makes the case that the current ... More
20 Jun 2021
Laurence des Cars is to become the first female president of the Louvre, following her appointment by French president Emmanuel Macron. Art historian des Cars ... More
19 Jun 2021
Plans have been revealed to build the world's deepest pool in Cornwall, UK, which would house facilities serving the spaceflight, sports science and healthcare communities. ... More
18 Jun 2021
People with depression should be prescribed exercise and then monitored for the first 12 weeks of their regime – similar to the way physical therapy ... More
JP Lennard
JP Lennard
17 Jun 2021
Kew Gardens has established a "living laboratory" at its wild botanic garden at Wakehurst, UK. The move is part of a research project to explore ... More
17 Jun 2021
Frequent strenuous exercise increases the risk of developing motor neurone disease (MND) in people with certain genetic profiles. Over recent years, a number of high-profile ... More
16 Jun 2021
Discount rail and bus travel and £10m in vouchers to key attractions – funded by the National Lottery – are among the measures announced in ... More
16 Jun 2021
The UK government has extended the ban on commercial evictions until 25 March 2022. Announcing the move today (15 June), chief secretary to the Treasury, ... More
15 Jun 2021
Operating a further four weeks at reduced capacity will place serious pressure on English fitness facilities – if the government doesn't urgently provide additional financial ... More
15 Jun 2021
People experiencing homelessness are being offered free access to leisure centres by Oxford City Council. A scheme launched this month (June 2021) will see the ... More
Spa Life UK
Spa Life UK
15 Jun 2021
IHRSA has appointed Elizabeth Clark as its new president and CEO. Clark joins the industry body from the National Confectioners Association (NCA) – the trade ... More
15 Jun 2021
Buro Happold, has acquired acoustics and audio-visual consultancy Vanguardia Limited and its subsidiary Crowd Dynamics International. The move will strengthen Buro Happold’s depth of expertise ... More
15 Jun 2021
Boutique studio operator TRIB3 has launched its own-brand range of luxury toiletries. The operator, which recently entered the Benelux market by signing a 20-site franchise ... More
1 - 15 of 43,328