GaStat findings show that 48.2% of Saudi nationals and residents now practice sports on a weekly basis, helping create a more vibrant society
The Ministry of Sports (MoS), Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), Quality of Life (QOL), and the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SOAC) are pleased to announce that the Kingdom has taken another important step towards accomplishing its Vision 2030 goals. According to the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat), 48.2% of people across the country now practice physical and sporting activities at least 30 minutes a week, demonstrating a key milestone in creating a healthy and vibrant society in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 Quality of Life Objectives.
This follows the launch of an extensive range of fitness-focused facilities, events, and initiatives geared toward improving the health and wellbeing of Saudi Nationals and residents.
HRH Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Saud, Minister of Sports, said: “The remarkable rise in the rate of exercise in our society is considered one of the many strategies that we are constantly working on, which has been achieved today. We are grateful for the interest and support from our generous leadership, which we continue to see in the sports sector, and who have been behind all the programs and initiatives under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. In cooperation with our partners, we have contributed significantly to changing the awareness and culture of our society, which has been paying greater attention to sports in recent years. It became a way of life for everyone, for a better future.”Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Quality of Life program objectives include increasing the number of people participating in sports and physical activity to nurture the population’s living qualities.
HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, SFA President, said: “Enhancing our sporting provisions on a local and national level will be essential to realizing our potential. At SFA, we take pride in contributing to the Kingdom’s progress and are determined to help people across the country participate in more sporting and physical activities. That we have come so far and achieved so much already, speaks volumes, saying a great deal about how much more we can accomplish and further we can go on this journey of change. We look forward to supporting even more people to get active and lead happy, healthy lives.”
The MoS, QOL, SFA and SOAC are closely working together to increase the adoption of sports and physical activity in the Kingdom. The entities continue to be key enablers of community sports, developing programs and campaigns that increase physical activity in the Kingdom, with several milestones achieved being the reason behind this unprecedented growth in exercise rates.
To date, the MoS, QoL, SFA, and SOAC have worked jointly to launch 74 inclusive and sustainable programs and partnered with a wide selection of entities. Their collaborators include the World Health Organization (WHO), the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence (SDAIA), the Association For International Sport for All (TAFISA), the Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Health (MoH), and Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MoMRA).
The MoS and SFA have also worked together to achieve milestones in the QoL program initiatives, which aim to improve individual and families’ quality of life by creating the necessary environment to develop and support new livable and lifestyle options. The QoL initiatives include “Active Places” and “Active People”, which are fundamental in increasing the number of people participating in sports and physical activity.
Through the Active Places initiatives, the SFA and the Ministry of Sports provide access to educational facilities and programs to create an enabling environment to help communities improve their wellbeing. Some of the Active Places initiatives include neighborhood clubs, summer camps, physical activity tests (PAT at schools), and an Online Teacher Toolkit (Schools on the Move). Under the same initiative, the two entities have partnered with local malls, including Arabian Centers, Riyadh Chamber and Alothaim Malls, to activate walking tracks and fitness challenges. Parks across the Kingdom are also used to support physical activities and have hosted programs such as Move With Us and Family Activity Days. The Ministry of Sports has also opened up its facilities and academies to support the Active Places initiative.
Under the Active People, the MoS established 91/93 federations and worked with SFA to set up close to 1,000 community sports groups. These include on-ground programs, ranging from marathons to cricket games and SandClash — the two-day fitness competition — to the Lifestyle Enhancement Conference. Active People has also introduced several virtual programs to the Kingdom, like Move to Game and Step Together. The SFA also used campaigns such as Start Now, Baytak Nadeek, Saudi National day and Ramadan to encourage more participation in sports and physical activity. Also, as part of the initiative, the MoS and SFA have empowered women to take control of their health by creating projects and programs that cater to them, such as the first-ever Women’s Community Football League, the Global Goals World Cup (GGWCUP), and the Women’s Fitness Festival.
In the digital realm, the SFA utilizes technology to encourage people to get fit by using the SFA app: a platform for people of all fitness levels that enables users to participate in community, group, and individual sports, as well as monitor and manage their personal health. Over 20 entities, ranging from giga-projects to startups, have enrolled on the app, and it has tracked more than 20 billion steps to date.
These innovations and initiatives rely on data and insights collected by SFA to enhance access to sports and physical activities continuously. Some of the insights collected focus on key motivators for exercising, including improving appearance, participating in competitive sporting and health programs, and engaging in fun and fitness-driven experiences. The SFA recorded the most popular fitness activities as walking, football (soccer), and gym workouts.
The SFA also collects data on individuals not participating in physical activities to further understand the setbacks and barriers people face, with the top barriers being attitude-related, lack of time, and injury-related.
In order to strengthen our programs and initiatives, we use data-driven and evidence-based research to listen to what people want and design solutions based on audience insights.
The SFA also monitored demographic statistics with the same intent of developing and improving the initiatives that support sports and physical activity.
GaStat findings show that 54.8% of males practice sports weekly, with 38.3% of females participating in various forms of exercise every week. The most active administrative regions in the Kingdom are Eastern Region, Riyadh and Asir.
As per the World Health Organization’s recommendations, however, 29% of Saudi Nationals and residents spend 150 minutes a week exercising. Going by the WHO approach, the most active Saudi regions are Eastern, Riyadh, and Albaha.