Healthy Children in Sound Communities

Deutsche Sportjugend im Deutschen Olympischen Sportbund, e.V. – German Sports Youth in German Olympic Sports Confederation

2. Number and title of the project
EAC/21/2009/033 – "Healthy Children in Sound Communities" (HCSC-EU)

3. Area of intervention
Health and Physical Activity

4. Concept and Strategy
The strategy and structure of the project have been prepared on the basis of the outcome and recommendations of the study on "Young people's physical activities and sedentary lifestyles" (call for tenders EAG/33/03) which was published by DG EAC in January 2005. Public authorities (school boards and health boards of the involved municipalities) and partners from civil societies (local sport clubs and organisations, health centres, etc.) will build local, community-based, multi-actor network to combine their individual efforts and programmes for a commonly agreed health-enhanced PE/PA-programme for local children to promote and implement more opportunities for all to engage in an active lifestyle as a means to counteract physical inactivity and overweight/obesity.
The purpose of the "Healthy Children in Sound Communities" project (HCSC-EU) is to transfer/diffuse and implement the strategy, structure and experiences of the Dutch-German cross-border project to several other local communities in five other EU countries (CZ, PL, IT, NL, GB) as well as to other provinces/states/cities outside the cross-border region of the Netherlands and Germany (NL, DE) with relevant public and civil society stakeholders on education, health and sport ("third parties").

5. Education, physical activity and feedback
School-based curricular activities are: 3 hours of health-enhancing physical education (PE) per week and one additional weekly hour of health and nutrition education. Co-curricular physical activity (PA) activities are daily non-motorised transportation to school and back home by "walking bus". Extra-curricular activities are provided via special "health courses" given by local sport clubs which have become partners of HCSC-affiliated schools. The weekly schedule for primary school children is a combination of all three types of PA including health and nutrition education. PE lessons at school and PA courses of the sport clubs differ throughout the week (Mon, Wed, Fr: PE at school; Tue, Thu: PA either at school or at the sport club). The project plan includes evaluation tests of BMI and a complex physical fitness test which measures age-related basic motor development like coordination, strength, etc. Reports are given to parents, school teachers and to the individual child in order to evaluate its physical development in a "healthy developmental zone". Pupils are supported in specially tailored courses (e.g. more support for coordination or aerobic endurance) according to their physical fitness and health development (different types of the third PE lesson at school and different course structures of the sport club PA offers). Besides the regular PE teachers and sport coaches, external experts (e.g., nutrition) from the public health sector support the HCSC intervention programme by teaching, advising and guiding their colleagues at school and in sport clubs. External experts are also employed on part time contracts for measurement, evaluation and further education programmes supporting and assisting school teachers and sport club coaches.

6. Diffusion and implementation
The applicant and "partner organisations" (national sport organisations, regional sport organisation networks and academic institutions) in each country will become responsible for transferring/diffusing, implementing and evaluating the HCSC programme into selected municipalities of these countries, assisted locally by "third parties".
In each participating EU country either the national/regional sport/youth sport organisation networks or the academic partner organisations (university based institutes) will build a national "back office" for the HCSC-EU project. As much as possible, both "second organisations" in each country should build the "back office" as partners. To increase these partnerships is also a task of the project in stage 1. The "back office" will serve for the network of the municipality (front office) as well as for their locally based schools, sport clubs and public health offices ("third parties"). In the project, a maximum of 9 "second organizations" will be involved. "Third parties" are local stakeholders in a municipality which represent local actors in education, health, and sport. Each municipality will build a local multi-actor-network (front office) between education, health and sport units ("round table") in order to implement the already tested HCSC-NL/DE programme and best practice experiences into another municipality of another EU-country (CZ, IT, PL, NL, GB), into another province/state in NL/DE (schools and sport clubs) and into another sport organization network.

An extended network between all EU-based "partner organisations", organised and managed with the support of ENGSO Youth, existing regional sport networks and cross-municipality exchange of experiences about the HCSC programme will be side effects of the project to raise more EU-based citizenships for public health networks in the civil sector, particularly for local, regional and national sport organizations in the EU. On each level of diffusion and implementation of the project, graduates of PE, health, promotion, youth sport affairs and sport management will be involved. Individuals of "second organisations" representing academic institutions in the country of the HCSC-EU project need a full academic degree in a relevant subject of sport science, sport medicine or public health (PhD.) Individuals of "second organisations" who represent national/regional youth sport organisations and regional networks must prove their expertise via extended vocational training and management experiences in promoting and diffusing youth sport programmes in their countries successfully. Individuals of "third parties" who teach and coach primary school children in the project need either a degree as a PE teacher or a certified license as a youth sport coach.

In summary the items of the HCSC programme coincide with recommendations included in the recently published EU PA Guidelines (2008) (see Guidelines 9-13, 21-24, 26, 27 and 38).

7. Partners of the network:  

  • The applicant body (German Sport Youth) and all "partner organisations" will build a network to diffuse, implement and evaluate the HCSC-EU Sport project.
  • Partner organisations of the applicant are sport/youth sport organizations in selected EU-countries (Youth Sport Trust, GB; CSTV, CZ;NISB, NL; FIAF, IT), their European umbrella organization, ENGSO Youth, as well as a regional sport network (European Academy of Sport, Velen, DE) with its regional sport organisation partner networks (German-speaking Community, BE; Drzonków Voivodeship, PL; Skånneidrotten, SE)
  • Partner organisations of the applicant and its youth sport partner organisations abroad also include university-based research units with experiences in health and youth sport implementation and evaluation studies in the respective EU countries of the participating sport/youth sport organisations (Willibald Gebhardt Research Institute, University of Duisburg-Essen, DE; Charles University, Prague, CZ; Dutch Institute of Movement and Sport (NISB), NL; E. Piasecki University School of Physical Education, Poznań , PL). Most of these academic partners have already developed formal ties with national/regional youth sport organisations in their countries like the Youth Sport Trust (GB) and the Willibald Gebhardt Research Institute (DE). In addition, both institutions and some other of these university-based institutes have already become partners under the EU umbrella roof of ENGSO Youth.


8. Expected results

  • Extension of curricular PE and extra-curricular PA units from 2 or 3 weekly units of at least 45 minutes up to 5 units per week for selected classes of primary school children.
  • Implementation/extension of health-enhanced teaching and coaching programmes for PE and ΡΑ/sport units at selected schools and sport clubs.
  • Implementation of co-curricular PA, before and after school lessons and between school lessons (e.g., movement breaks, "walking bus").
  • Implementation of relevant health and nutrition aspects into the school curriculum.
  • Further education units for teachers and coaches to measure BMI, weekly PA index and basic motor development.
  • Monitoring BMI, weekly PA index and basic motor development two times in selected schools or sport clubs (at the beginning of the school year 2010/11 and after 6 months of health enhanced teaching and coaching in selected primary schools or sport clubs, spring 2011). The results and experiences (good ones and bad ones) are used to develop specially tailored health-enhanced multi-actor-programmes for the partnership of schools and sport clubs on community level in each of the participating EU-municipalities for region/nation-wide daily PA programmes.