The New Health Project’s mission to enhance the physical, mental, emotional and social well-being of citizens across Europe continued in Brussels on 6 October when EuropeActive held an event to promote the work and on-going objectives of the project. The event was held alongside the Active Ageing Communities Project Final Conference with their common goal of promoting healthy lifestyles across the lifespan of Europeans.
The event was opened by Julian Berriman the Director of the EuropeActive Professional Standards Committee (PSC). The importance of the project in supporting European and global active healthy lifestyles was emphasized, as was the need for the fitness and physical activity sector to adopt a broader and more holistic approach to health which encompassed activity, a healthy diet and positive mental health. The need to move beyond a focus on the aesthetic value of physical activity was stressed. There was a necessity to step outside of the gym, engage with communities and adopt a less prescriptive and more supportive role in supporting those communities toward greater health and well-being.
Anna Szumilewicz, the Deputy Director for Standards of the PSC informed attendees regarding the development of the Healthy Lifestyle Promoter (HLP) Lifelong Learning Qualification. This qualification had been developed by the PSC in consultation with expert stakeholders from across the fitness and physical activity Sector.
The role of the Healthy Lifestyle Promotor was described. It was emphasised that the Healthy Lifestyle Promotor promoted a healthy lifestyle through providing information and signposting to community activities that would support such a lifestyle but did not actively provide training or prescribe exercise. In this role of facilitating and informing the Healthy Lifestyle Promotor could be a professional from any sector thereby broadening the reach of this innovative qualification. It was also underlined that on completion of the qualification individuals from whatever their sector of work would be eligible to join the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS) and to support EuropeActive’s goal of encouraging more people to be more active, more often.
John van Heel, the project lead and inspiration for the New Health Project spoke next. John’s passion and commitment to promoting health and wellbeing in others never fails to make an impression and this occasion was no exception. He described his worries about a future of rising levels of overweight and obesity and his fears for the health of future generations. The highly innovative and informative videos that had been produced to support professionals, volunteers and consumers to promote healthy lifestyles were showcased to the audience as was the Lifestyle Scan (Register here to do the scan). This Scan would help identify unhealthy behaviours and to track positive changes in those behaviours. These resources were applauded by the assembled audience.
The New Health multiplier was concluded with a video provided by Gert Van Reckem, Coordinator Healthy & Ethical Sports of Fitness.be, another important partner in the project. Fitness.be had worked with celebrities and high level athletes in Belgium to promote the lifestyle scan and, to this point, 10,000 individuals had completed the scan. The results of this project would be invaluable in informing a shift to healthier lifestyles amongst those who had participated and future participants.
So, if you are interested in becoming a Healthy Lifestyle Promoter or simply learning more about how to address unhealthy behaviours in yourself and others, please visit the New Health website to find out more. The resources therein are a must for all looking to start their journey toward a healthier lifestyle!