IOC Joins Forces With WHO And The UN To Promote Health During COVID-19

To mark Olympic Day, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) launched a partnership with the WHO and the UN to inspire healthy behavior around the world, announced a WHO statement on Tuesday.

As COVID-19 upends daily routines and lives around the world, we need to pay attention to our own mental and physical health and help others who may need extra support, said the statement.

In a global collaboration with athletes during the pandemic, the WHO will bring tailored health messages to people around the globe through digital platforms.

“We are pleased to partner with the International Olympic Committee to spread important health messages that will save lives”, said WHO’s Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Olympians will help us advocate for healthier populations to ensure that people are as resilient as our health systems must be to fight COVID-19.”

Said IOC President Thomas Bach: “Sport can save lives. We have seen over the last few months just how important sport and physical activity are for health and well-being. And working together with the WHO and the United Nations we can take another step together. We will ask our Olympic athletes to help share the information and best practice that the world needs now.”

Physical activity can boost physical and mental well-being

According to a WHO survey, people with chronic diseases (NCDs) like hypertension, diabetes or obesity are more likely to be critically ill with COVID-19.

In Italy, for instance, 98% of people that died from COVID-19 had pre-existing conditions, including cardiovascular issues (67%) and diabetes (31%). And diabetics are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 compared to people without diabetes.

Chronic diseases are triggered by unhealthy lifestyles like physical inactivity, tobacco use, unhealthy diets and harmful use of alcohol. 

Image Credits: Derek Jensen (Tysto), International Olympic Committee, WHO and United Nations.