The NLsportraad calls for a sports law: ‘Every Dutch person has the right to exercise’

The Dutch never moved less than in the past twelve months. Precisely at a time when sports and exercise were actually weapons against the roaming corona virus. In that respect, the Dutch Sports Council is at the forefront of the message that the advisory body wants to pass on to a new cabinet: invest heavily in sports in the coming years, oblige the government to make sports accessible to every Dutch citizen and lay this down in a sports law.

The amounts do not lie, in the advice that the council made public on Tuesday evening. The timing is no coincidence: it is intended as a guideline for the upcoming cabinet formation. But anyone who takes the fitness of the Dutch population seriously cannot avoid significant investments, the council argues. They want 75 percent of Dutch people to participate in sports, or at least exercise, by 2030. Cycle, walk, jog. There is a climbing frame in the playground. Or swim a few laps. At the moment, about 50 percent of the Dutch ‘move’. And this is decreasing for young people.

The condition and stamina of the average Dutch person are crying out for improvement. “The corona pandemic has shown how essential sufficient exercise is,” says Bernard Wientjes, member of the NLsportraad, as the organ calls itself. “How do we get the Dutch population moving, that’s what this is about.” So whoever thinks that the advice costs a lot of money, he just wants to say, remember this: “It also yields a lot. Because with this, four million extra people will move and become healthier. ”

Structural movement

According to the council, the most important pillar of structural exercise – in addition to better sports facilities – is a Sports Act. Wientjes: „Sport and exercise are among the most important collective objectives in the Netherlands, but it is not established anywhere. That law must state that every Dutch person has the right to sport and exercise, and that all governments must provide the space and funding for this. ”

Or, as former football director Michael van Praag, now chairman of the NLsport council, puts it: „We want to get rid of arbitrariness, of noncommittalism. There must be a system in which sport is accessible to everyone in the Netherlands. We have 600,000 people living below the poverty line. They can’t even exercise. If you do not arrange this from the government, it is too non-committal. ”

Van Praag pains his brain every day to find ways in which he can explain to politics the importance of sports and exercise. Wientjes is also surprised when he notices “how low sport is in the pecking order of politics”. Van Praag: “Once a year there is a debate about sport in the House of Representatives. In municipalities you depend on the enthusiasm of the concerned alderman whether a municipality does a lot or little in the way of sports. There are so many differences in those municipalities. In most provinces there is never any mention of sport at all. They are about infrastructure. And walking is also a sport. ”

Photo Jean-Pierre Jans

Enough reasons to finally set up a formal sports system in the Netherlands, according to the NLsportraad. Van Praag: “The government must set frameworks that everyone has to adhere to. Half of the children in the Netherlands do not even meet the standard of one hour of exercise per day. Something will have to change. ”

And not only for the part of the population that already sports. Because the sports sector in the Netherlands is mainly geared towards the sporting part. The Council sees that ‘exercise poverty’ is greatest among vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with a disability or a chronic illness, or people with a low income.

Not overweight

Due to the corona pandemic, the NL Sports Council has found an opening in politics, although that is a bitter observation after the suffering that thousands of patients have suffered in the past year. But the numbers don’t lie. Wientjes: “People who are in good condition and who are not overweight have survived the corona crisis much better.” On top of that, as experts in the council warn: “Corona is a nasty, extremely damaging pandemic, but obesity is a much bigger problem in the future.”

Wientjes has recently noticed that MPs have slowly become more interested in sports, especially from a public health perspective. At some political groups in the House of Representatives, spokespersons already combine the public health portfolio with sports. “The trouble changes that. Avoiding obesity, that’s the common thread. ”

In that light, Wientjes does not find the costs behind the advice of the NLsportraad ‘alarming’. He wants politicians to assess investments with disease prevention in mind. “Then it is almost nothing, with the almost 100 billion that we spend on healthcare.”

The council wants to prevent that within central government only the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport pays for the costs of a sports society. Van Praag states that all departments have an interest in more exercise. “At Defense, half of the applicants are rejected due to lack of motor skills. You have to check. In the meantime we have such a commercial on television: come and work at Defense. Half of the people can’t even do that. So we all have to take portion. ”

The NLsportraad calls for a sports law: ‘Every Dutch person has the right to exercise’
Source link The NLsportraad calls for a sports law: ‘Every Dutch person has the right to exercise’

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