On 3 and 4 November, the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) hosted the HEPA - A whole school approach promoting Health and Physical Activity project partners meeting. The project aims to analyse the best practices developed by each partner in its respective country in promoting physical activity among young populations. On this basis, the partners are producing resources and tools for school-based staff, helping them in their fight against physical inactivity in this age group. Through the implementation of the training resource and in line with the four objectives outlined within the GAPPA, project partners intend to enable schools to adopt and promote a whole-school/systems approach to address the high levels of inactivity.
The pandemic favoured sedentary behaviour, leading to enormous health and economic consequences. According to data provided by the WHO about what they termed a “global epidemic of childhood inactivity”, four out of five 11- to 17-year-olds around the world are not physically active enough. Inactivity is mainly associated with health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes or other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). It was reported that “overweight and obesity affect nearly one in three children (29% of boys and 27% of girls)” in the WHO European Region.
The HEPA project will conclude its activities in June 2023 and in the coming months the focus will therefore gradually shift from development and implementation of the resources to evaluating them and disseminating the findings.
EuropeActive is strongly committed to increasing activity levels in younger populations as part of its mission to make more people more active more often. Preceding the HEPA project, EuropeActive successfully completed, as a coordinator, two Erasmus+ projects aiming to tackle physical inactivity in Europe among children (ALCIS and ALCIS2). The two projects involved about 20.000 schoolchildren across 9 EU countries. ALCIS2 was selected as a success story and good practice example by the European Commission.