Fans and staff travelling to UEFA Women's EURO 2017 fixtures in the Netherlands have boosted the health of their hearts by walking and cycling almost 2,000km to stadiums. Over 1,600 people have downloaded the Active Match Mobile app and collectively burned a total of 74,542 calories, saving 236,281g CO2 emissions.
Peter Gilliéron, chairman of the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee, said: "Football is an ideal way to keep active while having fun. We can all keep our hearts healthy by making activity part of our lifestyle – whether that's by playing football, or by walking or cycling to the next match."
The free Active Match Mobile App was developed by the European Healthy Stadia Network and aims to raise awareness of heart health and encourage women and children in particular to be more physically active.
Activities have included an online fitness challenge, visits to schools and games in the fan zones in the lead up to and during the UEFA Women's EURO. It will peak at the semi-finals in Breda and Enschede on Thursday, when there will be giant 'A Healthy Heart Your Goal' heart-shaped banners on the pitches before kick-off to raise awareness about the importance of being active for a healthy heart.
In the Netherlands and Europe as a whole, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for women: one in three die from heart-related illnesses. Being active and playing sports like football can make a difference: just 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days a week can boost heart health and help prevent heart disease and stroke.
A new survey commissioned by the World Heart Federation among 4,000 women in Europe shows encouraging data for the future: the younger generation of women are taking up the sport, with nearly one in five (19%) people aged 18-24 in four featured countries playing football, compared to just 4% in the 45-54 bracket. The research also reveals that the number of female footballers is set to rise, with a quarter of women aged 18-34 saying that they would like to play the game.
The app is part of A Healthy Heart Your Goal, a joint campaign by the World Heart Federation
, UEFA, the Dutch Heart Foundation, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) and the European Healthy Stadia Network.