23 Mar 2016
TEACHING CHILDREN MORE ABOUT THE VALUE OF A PHYSICALLY ACTIVE AND HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.
To coach school children towards a healthy lifestyle over a three year period.
|Organisation||Beweeg Wijs B.V.|
|Start-end date||September 2013 – June 2016|
|Target group||Primary school students between 6 - 12 years old and their parents|
|Reach||Approximately 2,100 children across the 3 year lifespan of the programme|
|Partners||Menzis Health Insurance, GGD Public Health Provider, TNO Research Institute, local primary schools and sports clubs, the Stichting GKGK Foundation for Healthy Children and numerous local healthcare partners|
|Key facts||Within a year of entering the programme, obesity rates among participants declined by 24%. The programme has also noted that a lowering in the Body Mass Index of participants as well as an improvement in general physical and motor skills.|
Lifestyle and Healthy Weight is a two-part programme specifically designed to get children more active and engaged in healthy lifestyle choices. It is the culmination of efforts from the City of Enschede and a host of other community partners active in the field of healthcare.
The programme involves two separate initiatives delivered simultaneously in local schools over a three year period.
The first of these is called Beweeg Wijs (Move Smart). This involves an additional hour of physical activity and movement at school being given to children each week. Beweeg Wijs takes place in the playground of the school and teaches participants to be fully comfortable playing alongside and against one another in a participative environment. The second initiative is Leef Wijs (Live Smart). This involves an hour a week of theory related to engaging in healthy lifestyles decisions delivered in a classroom environment.
Throughout the three years, the children are tested on their physical condition, coordination, weight and motorial skills.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Integration with school curriculum
The programme methodology has been specifically designed to be absorbed into existing school programming. This ensures that all the children are within reach and that maximum impact is generated. It also ensures that the delivery is regular and consistent, crucial factors in maintaining engagement with younger audiences.
A community-level approach
Lifestyle and Healthy Weight adopts the ideology that 'it takes a whole village to reach a child'. A huge number of interested community parties were consulted and involved in design and delivery. This includes not only the local schools, but also the parents, local health organisations and insurance groups, sport clubs, doctors, physiotherapists, dieticians, school teachers and remedial teachers.
Involving participants as coaches
A fundamental part of the Beweeg Wijs methodology is the involvement of children as ‘junior coaches’. Children from the older classes of the schools are selected to help coach the younger children. This helps to generate more buy-in and to develop social skills amongst participants, both young and old.
Beweeg Wijs B.V.
SPORT FOR ALL OBJECTIVES
Promote sport and physical activity
The Beweeg Wils component of the programme focuses on ensuring children are physically active. It prioritises a gradual progression towards becoming fully comfortable in a participative sporting environment amongst peers. Through the involvement of local clubs, children are being introduced to several new sports, helping to identify new and potentially more suitable sporting alternatives for their future.
Improve public health and well-being
Alongside the practical and theory courses, a healthy lunch regime has been implemented at participant schools. There are also cooking classes organised for interested parents. Furthermore, teachers have remarked that the children have become more concentrated in class. All these benefits combine to generate a more physically, mentally and emotionally healthier community.
Support active societies
By involving schools, children and parents, two generations are directly engaged in a nurturing and productive environment. Bringing local sports clubs on board helps children to gain exposure to many different sports and opens up a dialogue through which they can remain active for many years after exiting the programme. The involvement of local healthcare and research bodies ensures that the broader issue of community well-being are always at the heart of what the programme is about.
HOW IS THE PROGRAMME COMMUNICATED?
The Lifestyle and Healthy Weight programme communicates mainly by way of newsletter. The project publishes its own regular newsletter developed by the organisers. This is reinforced by individual newsletters produced and distributed by participating schools. These are targeted at both children and parents.
These communications are also supported through coverage in the local newspapers.
HOW IS THE PROGRAMME EVALUATED?
Every year children are tested on their physical condition, coordination, weight and motor skills. Their results are shared and discussed with parents, school directors and the sports / gym instructors.
These results are also tracked by Stichting GKGK and TNO, both of whom work daily with data and metrics. These bodies help to analyse and compare data before sharing this work with the other programme partners.
Evaluations are constantly considered by organisers who use this information to update and improve the programme design and delivery.