Category Archives: Education

Active Children: EuropeActive accepts the challenge

One out of five children in Europe is affected by overweight or obesity, European children spend only 5% of their school-time in physical activities and less than 10% of them meet the WHO recommendations on physical activity. Research also shows that low levels of physical activity among children can cause bad performance at school and long-term health problems like adult obesity, heart disease and diabetes. These reports are the harshest and most brutal warnings that something has to be done.

 

ALCIS: “Action Learning for Children in School”

The ALCIS project (Action Learning for Children in School) came to life to tackle these key issues by striving to combine action and learning: children are truly at the core of the programme, teachers will guide them throughout the learning process and fitness instructors will support them for the action part. The main objective is to encourage children, their families and friends to be more active, more often… because it is not only fun but an investment for life.

ALCIS, an old appellation for Athens, is one of the most powerful goddesses – mostly known as the goddess of physical prowess and strength. She is a fitting symbol for the project that wants children to reflect about different lifestyle choices in relation to physical activity, stress management and overall well-being with the aim for a long-term impact.

We will cover five EU Member States (Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands and United Kingdom) and a total of 50 schools. Nearly 5,000 children will participate in at least four non-competitive group exercise classes. The project will start during the European Week of Sport with a first class group exercise adapted to children between 8 and 12 years old. In the following four weeks children will devote some weekly time to the implementation of the programme, which will end with a final fun group exercise – involving children’s families and friends – at the beginning of November 2015.

The ALCIS project started in May 2015 and will run for 12 months. It is funded with the support of the Erasmus+ Sport Programme of the European Union and it will contribute to the European Week of Sport focus day aimed at education, sport and young people on Tuesday 8th September 2015. EuropeActive is the leader partner and cooperates with other six not-for-profit associations across Europe in order to develop, implement and ensure the success of the project. These are: eurMind (Belgium), Ireland Active (Ireland), The Wellness Foundation (Italy), The Lithuanian Health and Fitness Association (Lithuania), Fit!vak (Netherlands) and Ukactive (United Kingdom).

About EuropeActive

EuropeActive formerly known as The European Health & Fitness Association (EHFA), with its origins in 1996 as a not-for-profit organisation, remains as the unique voice for the European health & fitness sector to all of the main EU Institutions. Its mission is to turn back the tide of inactivity and ensure that MORE PEOPLE become MORE ACTIVE as a result of a functional synergy between all of the sector’s actors.

EuropeActive has, among its membership, more than 10,000 facilities, 19 national trade associa­tions, sector leading suppliers, education providers and individuals.

Targeting physical inactivity in children: a focus on schools

If you’ve been reading our blog (and we hope you have!) you know the numerous benefits that sport and physical activity provide: happiness, more energy, better health, less anxiety …and on and on… what’s not to love! But what we did not stress enough is why it’s so important to start young!

Let’s look at the scary numbers first:

Childhood obesity is no joke – and it’s on the rise in Europe, where according to the WHO, one in three 11 year olds is overweight or obese. Furthermore, European children are 50% less physically active by age 15 than they were at age nine. As computer games, television and mobile devices take up more and more leisure time, physical inactivity is hurting Europe’s children. That’s the reality.

On the other hand, an increasing number of studies are coming out demonstrating the value of incorporating more physical activity into the lives of children. Active kids have been shown to perform better at school and develop more confidence. As we’ve already mentioned, physical activity also helps boost brain power and creativity – these are excellent added benefits for students of all ages. Finally, kids who embrace an active lifestyle are more likely to carry those good habits into adulthood – and that’s a good thing.

This is why encouraging physical activity in the educational environment is so important, and why the European Week of Sport has this setting as one of its Focus Day themes.

There are many ways to encourage kids to #BeActive, but it’s also important to support schools, educators and other decision makers in creating a culture that values more physical activity in the school setting – from nursery to university level.

We’ve shared some tips on our website, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Have you heard of any innovative programs to get kids active? What do you do to encourage your children to fight inactivity? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Let’s work together to help Europe’s children and youth #BeActive!