Less than 4 out of 10 Brazilian adults exercise or practice sports on a regular basis, according to the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) first National Human Development Report on Brazil.
Only 37.9% of the Brazilians surveyed in 2015 by the UNDP said they exercise of practice sports. The report flagged a gender gap, with 42.7% of men saying they engage in physical activity regularly, compared with 33.4% of women. Brazil’s socioeconomic disparity was an even bigger factor, as people making five times the minimum wage or more exercise up to 71% more than the average adult, while those with no formal education exercise up to 54% less than the average adult.
“The data considered confirm the understanding that physical exercise and sports are not limited to an individual decision, but is also a product of how society builds collective life,” the report reads. “This means that recommending individuals to do more exercise without creating real opportunities for people to become engaged with the practices, or without facing social constraints limiting involvement, will hardly change this landscape.”
UNDP urged Brazil’s government, private sector and civil society to adopt policies and launch initiatives to boost sports-related rates in the country.
“Policies aimed at the promotion of physical activities and sports must not limit their focus to individual responsibility and change in behavior. A number of deep-rooted conditions make an impact on people’s habits. Thus, policies should redress inequalities as well as seek real solutions, with an emphasis on participation and social control,” the report goes on.
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