Unraveling Inactivity at the Source
Sport and Citizenship Think tank, International School Sports Federation (ISF) and the French School Sport Federation (UNSS) have together conducted the Mapping of School Sport in Europe research, which was unveiled for the first time September 29 during the Active Schools, Active Kids! Conference held at the Committee of Regions. The release date was no happenstance as September 29 is the European School Sport Day during the European Week of Sport.
Physical Activity is Slipping Away
Through the PASS project, Sport and Citizenship came upon the unsettling discovery that 210 million European are inactive, translating into a yearly cost of 80 billion euros across the EU28, and further that over 70% of local decision-makers are unaware of the current situation. Physical inactivity is taking sedentary Europe like an epidemic and has become an issue of public health. The concern is in fact worldwide but thankfully more and more stakeholders are involving themselves in finding solutions.
Why Kids ?
The Mapping is the first-ever panorama of extra-curricular school sport, and constitutes a reliable reference point for future evaluation of the situation across Europe. The idea of providing this status quo is also to shed light over good school sport initiatives and to show how school is contributing to tackle the challenge of physical inactivity- whether by physical education or extracurricular sport activities.
The choice of children’s age group relies of the facts that early years play a defining role in establishing physical skills and lifestyle habits, but equally because all children attend school making it the sole area public policies will touch the whole population. The benefits of physical activity go well beyond physical and mental health, as a number of studies are showing that active children have higher attention span, memory, and self-esteem thus helping them make better life-decisions and succeed in all fields of life. Restoring physical activity in daily lives is not only a dire health need it is sensible choice for society on the whole.
Active Schools, Active Kids! was the perfect opportunity to reveal and share the preliminary results of the Mapping, before an analysis of the current situation will be released. Sport and Citizenship hopes the project will partake in helping decision-makers understand the general trends and facts of school sport across the Union, to then further encourage primary schools interventions as a priority. In the long run, we believe to provide food for thought for the next EWoS to focus on children and sport participation since it is everybody’s concern to counter the tide of inactivity now, and protect young and future generations from it.