RIGA, June 13 (LETA) – Decrease in productivity caused by lack of physical exercise costs Latvia’s economy EUR 190 million a year, according to a global study on impact of physical exercise on the economy conducted by Deloitte.

The study reveals that negative impact of the shortage physical exercise on government budget is EUR 41.5 million.

Gints Kuznecovs, a board member of the Latvian Association of Health and Fitness, said at the Saeima sports subcommittee meeting that about 30 percent of Latvian residents do not do any sports.
At the same time, he said that physical exercise has direct and indirect impact on the gross domestic product (GDP).

The study shows that every employee who is not physically active costs EUR 814.21 a year. Also, Latvia loses 966,900 working days a year in relation to unproductive work of employees, including employees’ sickness or working while they are not feeling well.

The association’s representatives said that the policy on increasing physical activity of residents is fragmented and does not have a comprehensive approach. Also, a problem is that this sector is considered rather an entertainment, than a sector promoting health.

MP Raimonds Bergmanis (United List) said that so far the state has been promoting healthy life style with campaigns and projects, but systematic changes should be introduced instead.

Tax expert and law firm Sorainen partner Janis Taukacs said that 20 out of 27 EU member states have introduced lower value added tax (VAT) on sport related events.