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Report of the Polish Academy of Sciences on the insufficient physical activity of Poles


Scientists from the Medical University of Gdańsk and the Gdańsk University of Physical Education and Sport took part in the creation of the report entitled Insufficient level of physical activity in Poland as a threat and challenge for public health. The document is the result of a year-long work of 42 authors invited by the Committee on Public Health of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Its uniqueness comes from bringing together experts in health, physical culture, economics, and psychology and sociology. Specialists from our University reviewed Polish studies on physical activity and discussed issues related to cardiac rehabilitation, including patients after cardioverter-defibrillator implantation.

The co-authors of the publication are:

  • from the MUG: Dr. Habil. Piotr Bandosz from the Division of Preventive Medicine & Education, Prof. Grzegorz Raczak, Head of the 2nd Department of Cardiology, Prof. Tomasz Zdrojewski, Head of the Division of Preventive Medicine & Education (scientific editor of the entire report), Prof. Dominika Szalewska, Head of the Division of Rehabilitation Medicine and Tadeusz Jędrzejczyk Ph.D., from the Division of Public Health & Social Medicine.
  • from the Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport: Dr. Habil. Katarzyna Prusik, Dr. Habil. Wojciech Ratkowski, Assoc. Prof., Dr. Habil. Krzysztof Prusik, Assoc. Prof. and Wojciech Sakłak Ph.D., Błażej Stankiewicz Ph.D. and Marcin Pasek Ph.D.


photo Paweł Sudara/MUG

The authors of the report present the current health situation and indicate the most important threats to the health of the Polish population resulting largely from the high level of risk factors known for decades and insufficient social acceptance of the principles of prevention and pro-health recommendations. In this context, they emphasize the key importance of physical activity as a determinant of physical and mental health of children, adolescents, adults, including the oldest population of women and men. The authors of the report analyze in detail the level of physical activity of various groups in Polish society, also in comparison with other European countries; it point out methodological imperfections and objective difficulties in assessing the level of physical activity.

According to the latest research, Poles struggle primarily with heart, blood vessel and respiratory system diseases, cancer, and diabetes. In addition, more and more people are affected by hypertension, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism disorders, overweight and obesity.

During the preparation of the report, the researchers used, inter alia, the results of repeated at several year intervals nationwide studies NATPOL (Nadciśnienie Tętnicze w Polsce Plus Zaburzenia Lipidowe i Cukrzyca ENG. Hypertension in Poland Plus Lipid Disorders and Diabetes), WOBASZ (Wieloośrodkowe Badanie Stanu Zdrowia Ludności ENG. Multicenter Population Health Survey), PolSenior and PolSenior 2, of which the head or one of the co-authors was Professor Tomasz Zdrojewski. These studies concerned not only the health status of representatives of particular age groups, but also their quality of life and socio-economic situation. This allowed both to obtain a more complete picture of the society today and to trace its changes over time. Thanks to that it was possible to determine the greatest threats to the health of Poles and to indicate actions which could dismiss those threats.

The document was published in March 2021 on the websites of Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish Press Agency and the National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene.