In a new agreement announced last week, the International Olympic Committee and the World Health Organization say they have teamed up with “promote healthy society through sport.”
The agreement is intended, in part, to contribute to the prevention of non-communicable diseases (those that are not passed from person to person, like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes). As part of the deal, the IOC and WHO will work together to promote healthy lifestyles and grassroots sports activities worldwide, as well as “fight physical inactivity.” As it specifically relates to physical inactivity, WHO is guided by its Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030, and targetting a 15% relative reduction in the global prevalence of physical inactivity in adults and adolescents by 2030.
The key objectives of the collaboration are as follows, according to the release:
- Objective 1: Joint action to support communications and advocacy for health and physical activity
- Objective 2: Align policy to strengthen the support on NCD prevention and healthier lifestyles through sport
- Objective 3: Strengthen the health preparedness and legacy of the Olympic Games
- Objective 4: Strengthen health promotion, policy and action through the Olympic Movement
- Objective 5: Support and strengthen collaboration on NCD prevention and physical activity promotion between the health and sports sector.
“Over the last few months in the current crisis, we have all seen how important sport and physical activity are for physical and mental health. Sport can save lives,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. “We will benefit from WHO advice when addressing the challenges of the post-coronavirus society, where health will play a much more prominent role in public policies. We look forward to working even closer with WHO. The IOC calls on the governments of the world to include sport in their post-crisis support programmes because of the important role of sport in the prevention of NCDs, but also of communicable diseases.”
“As we are preparing for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe environment for all participants, we are happy and grateful that we can continue to rely on the valuable advice of WHO,” Bach added.
According to the announcement, WHO was “instrumental” in advising the IOC during discussions that led to the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and continues to give advice as additional knowledge about COVID-19 comes to light.
The two organizations have partnered on “numerous” projects to promote healthy lifestyles and sports activities since 1984, the announcement added.