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Keywords:

  • health promotion;
  • health policy;
  • exercise;
  • national sport programs;
  • Europe

Although sport promotion may play an important role in achieving the recommended levels of physical activity for health, until now, there has been no comprehensive assessment of how sport policies in Europe address health. This article aimed at filling this gap by reviewing and analyzing recent national policy developments in the area of sport promotion, with a focus on synergies and discrepancies with the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity. By applying various search methods, 130 documents focusing on sport and physical activity were identified in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region. An analysis grid covering key indicators was developed for a systematic content analysis of 25 documents, selected according to established criteria. Analysis showed that general recommendations for good policy making were followed, such as establishing general goals, specifying time frame and responsible body for implementation and addressing different target groups. Furthermore, all sport strategies addressed health on an overall level and recognized the importance of Sport for All. However, in several strategies, there was a lack of measurable targets, specified budgets, and evaluation plans. The analysis showed that there is a great opportunity for health and sport sectors to work more closely together in the future, and identified areas where this could take place.