Skip to main content

New Research on Movement Aims to Make Danes More Active

Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have received support from the Nordea Foundation to continue the national survey 'Moving Denmark' and gain deeper insights into the movement habits of children, youth, and adults. The goal is to create a more physically active Denmark.

The extent and way we move vary widely. Some cycle to work, others run, practice yoga, or play badminton, while some engage in activities like gardening or vacuuming. Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark are now embarking on a new phase of the extensive national survey 'Moving Denmark,' which was responded to by 163,000 adult citizens in the fall of 2020.

The survey is now expanding with a significant new element: the collection of data on the movement habits of children and youth.

The Nordea Foundation is providing substantial support to the project with a contribution of 17.8 million DKK, constituting the majority of the total budget of 19.5 million DKK.

Creating changes in society

Karsten Elmose-Østerlund, the project owner for 'Moving Denmark' and Associate Professor at the Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark, explains that the aim of 'Moving Denmark' is to create actual societal change.

- Our ambition is to transfer knowledge directly to the organizations and municipalities responsible for promoting movement. By offering results and knowledge on both a national and local level, we aim to strengthen the effort to promote movement and make a tangible impact in the lives of citizens in all municipalities, he says.

The survey will collect in-depth insights into movement habits, not available in other national studies. Researchers will then formulate specific, research-based recommendations to encourage physical activity across Denmark. It goes beyond traditional sports and exercise – activities such as cleaning, gardening, walking, cycling to the supermarket, etc., are also considered.

- We will collect and analyze data on an unprecedented scale, explains project leader Jens Høyer-Kruse.

- Our objective is to comprehend the intricate factors that impact movement habits across diverse population groups – both the motivating factors and the barriers. The survey will enable us to identify key areas where we can make a significant impact on the health and well-being of the population, he points out.

Investigating what motivates us

The research project comprises two primary studies with a total of six components, including questionnaire surveys targeting children, youth, and adults, investigations into municipal movement policies, and case studies examining diverse initiatives promoting physical activity in selected municipalities.

Collectively, these diverse studies provide researchers with the opportunity to comprehend the factors that motivate various age groups and socio-economic segments to engage in more physical activity.

- Moving Denmark 2025 will map the physical activity habits of Danes at both local and national levels – and we will now also acquire specific insights into the physical activity of children and youth. Simultaneously, the project will generate a wealth of new knowledge, facilitating municipalities and associations in customizing programs that can inspire more people to be active," says Christine Paludan-Müller, Chief Distribution Officer at the Nordea Foundation.

- We would like to actively support this work at the Nordea Foundation, so that together, we can fulfill the ambition of creating more active communities," she says.

New knowledge compiled in a database for everyone's benefit

Communication and knowledge sharing are integral components of 'Moving Denmark 2025,' with the dissemination of results specifically aimed at municipalities, organizations, and stakeholders involved in promoting physical activity.

At the same time, inspiration and recommendations for the general public will be developed.

Additionally, an online database will offer access to compiled data on the physical activity habits of Danes for all citizens, organizations, and decision-makers in the country.

Facts about Moving Denmark 2025

  • Moving Denmark is the most extensive Danish study on physical activity habits. It encompasses various studies, including a questionnaire survey distributed in 2025 to potentially 800,000 children, youth, and adults via e-Boks.
  • Results will be compiled for each municipality and included in a database that municipalities and organizations can utilize when seeking information for movement and health initiatives.
  • The project will run from 2024 to 2028 and will be conducted by the Center for Research in Sports, Health, and Civil Society at the Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark.
  • The Nordea Foundation supports the project with nearly 17.8 million DKK.
  • The survey builds upon the findings from the initial iteration of 'Moving Denmark': In the fall of 2020, 163,000 Danes aged 15 and over responded to a questionnaire regarding their physical activity habits.
  • Results from the new part of the survey will be communicated during 2026.

Learn more: www.danmarkibevæ

Photo: Jens Astrup


Karsten Elmose-Østerlund, Associate Professor  and project owner
Centre for Sports, Health and Civil Society (CISC)
University of Southern Denmark
Mobil: +45 21 35 62 94

Jens Høyer-Kruse, project manager,
Centre for Sports, Health and Civil Society (CISC)
University of Southern Denmark
Mobile: +45 21 35 61 36

Editing was completed: 30.11.2023