A combined announcement from three ministries – the Employment, Health and Culture ministries – on Wednesday said that it was to set up a number of task groups involving external partners and other ministries in an effort to find ways to increase Danes' participation in sporting pursuits.
The initiative aimed to help Danes become healthier while giving them better opportunities on the labour market, the ministries wrote in a press statement.
“We generally have high levels of participation in sport in Denmark, but there are some groups of society that are not part of that community, and we must work together if we want them to join in,” said Minister for Culture Mette Bock.
“By taking part in sport in and outside of associations, bonds can be formed across social and cultural divides, and that can improve the forces of cohesion in Denmark,” Bock added.
Minister for employment Troels Lund Poulsen said via the joint press statement that an active lifestyle could “help to prevent wearing out of the body,” improving working environments and enabling individuals to “stay on the labour market for longer.”
Minister for Health Ellen Trane Nørby also highlighted the potential benefits for society of individual fitness.
“Children, adults and the elderly all get [through sport] membership of a community that helps maintain motivation to stay healthy. I think there is great potential in us becoming better at combining ideas on fitness and healthcare,” Nørby said.
Figures released by national data bank Statistics Denmark show a significant increase between 2014 and 2016 in the number of people who regularly fitness train, though other forms of sport appear more stable.
The task forces set up as part of the initiative will include representatives from the three ministries along with the ministries for immigration, children, finance and business, as well as a series of sports, business and social organisations.
Niels Nygaard, chairperson of the Sports Confederation of Denmark (Danmarks Idrætsforbund), told news agency Ritzau he looked forward to his organisation's participation in the work.
“It is crucial that more people take part in our vision of become the world's most sporting population.
“That also means those Danes who don't necessarily pull on training kit. Everyone can play an important role in getting more people to take part in sport,” Nygaard said.
The groups are expected to finish their work with a conference held to present the results later this year.