“Shaping the new generation of Active Kids”

Why make kids active again?

, by Sport et Citoyenneté

“Shaping the new generation of Active Kids”
European Week of Sport 2017

Physical activity at an early age contributes to a lifetime of healthy lifestyles and behaviors. Reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes or hypertension, together with improved sleep, healthy weight and improved concentration and academic performance, are only some of the benefits linked to physical activity, especially at an early age.

Yet, today’s kids are part of the least active generation in history. In fact, only 30% of children meet the minimal 60 minutes’ physical activity per day recommended by the World Health Organization.

In Europe, one in every five children is either overweight or affected by obesity. These alarming statistics reflect the urgent need for effective measures which tackle the sedentary behavior of European citizens; kids as well as adults. The sustainability of public health systems in Europe is at stake!

With the 36-month project Promoting Active Cities Throughout Europe (PACTE), funded by European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme, a consortium of leading actors in the field of sport and physical activity takes up this challenge. PACTE adopts an innovative approach as it aims to promote physical activity policies at the municipal level across the European continent. Targeting cities – by contrast with the long-used national level - brings the development of physical activity policies closer to European citizens.

The programme embraces four intervention areas, including the physical activity of kids by means of school-based education. Research has shown that the first ten years of life are critical for laying the foundation for future active behaviors. In this regard, primary schools, attended by children younger than 10, could play a significant role towards reaching this goal.

Currently, European children spend only 5% of their school-time in physical activities. By emphasizing the importance of physical activity in the school timetable, primary schools would contribute to helping children so that they are more active while granting them the incentives to practice a physical activity beyond the primary school setting. The new generation of active kids is more likely to grow into active adults!

How do we change the current trajectory of physical inactivity of kids via schools? How do we encourage schools to emphasize the importance of physical activity? What are the barriers/myths that keep certain schools relatively inactive? What are the key and easy incentives for schools to become more active and to increase the number of initiatives towards physical activity?

To tackle these questions, Sport and Citizenship, together with Nike and the Federation of European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI), organize, upon the European School Sport Day, a roundtable on the following topic: “Shaping the new generation of active kids”, at La Tricoterie, St-Gilles, Brussels, on September 28.

The event brings together leaders from the fields of education, governments and sport who will discuss how to make kids active again during the different panels and debating sessions.

The conference will be held within the framework of the European Week of Sport (EWoS) 2018 which is an EU-wide initiative led by the European Commission and implemented at EU, national, regional and local levels. Initiated by the European Commission back in 2015, upon a proposal made by Spanish MEP Santiago Fisas, the Week is for everyone, regardless, age, background or fitness level. With a focus on grassroots initiatives, EWoS aims to promote sport and physical activity across Europe and to inspire Europeans to #BeActive in their daily lives.

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