According to the World Health Organization, the rate of childhood obesity worldwide has increased tenfold in the past four decades. In the case of Romania, the absence of updated official statistics makes childhood obesity a silent killer. This alarming reality led us to develop in 2023 a complex sports and health education program, „The Knowledge to be Healthy”, which we are implementing thanks to the support provided by UEFA, in value of 70.000 euros.
The aim of the project is to promote and support a healthy lifestyle among 800 children between the ages of 7 and 14, from two disadvantaged communities, by practicing individual and team sports, organizing information sessions on the importance of a balanced diet and offering healthy snacks.
“Education and health are two of the directions in which United Way focuses its efforts. In addition to our traditional programs, we also turn our attention to current topics in recent years. Thus, we develop environmental education activities and education for sports and healthy lifestyle. We therefore appreciate to have in UEFA a partner involved in promoting a balanced lifestyle among children and thus to prevent the increase in the rate of childhood obesity”. – Adriana Dobrea, United Way Executive Director.
Distinguished guest at Sports Days
During a day dedicated to sports, we enjoyed the visit of the UEFA Foundation for Children representative, Matej Sršen. The children from the program participated in four workshops held in parallel: hockey, basketball, badminton and a workshop on healthy lifestyle. They participated in each of these workshops and practiced the respective sport under the guidance of the teachers, and through games, they learned about types of food, what is good for us, what is recommended to be consumed in moderation.
The main activities within the „The Knowledge to be Healthy” program
- Information and education sessions on the importance of a healthy life supported by psycho-pedagogues. During the 24 sessions, children playfully learn about the importance of hydration; the nutrition pyramid; the impact of alcohol and tobacco on the body both in the short term and in the long term; adequate sleeping habits; the importance of physical activity etc.
- Information sessions on topics such as Fair Play, teamwork and anti-bullying. Children read stories on one of the topics and learn from others’ examples about what sportsmanship is and is not, how to defend against bullying and how to be valuable team members.
- Sports workshops: football, volleyball, badminton, basketball and table tennis, which take place weekly. During the year, children participate in over 200 workshops. For their good organization, we purchased the necessary equipment according to the sports practiced.
- Providing healthy snacks (fresh fruit, cereal bars, nutritional supplements, yogurts, cereal crackers, etc.) and quality water for children in the program.
- Organization of the Sports Days event. During the summer, but also throughout the year, 800 children participate in sports activities within this event. They are divided into groups of about 40 children who have the opportunity to practice both well-known and also less familiar sports such as target shooting, obstacle courses, cricket, field hockey, archery, etc., but also to participate in short information sessions on the importance of sports, healthy eating, teamwork and anti-bullying. During the activities, children receive water, fruit and nutritional supplements.
The project runs for one year and ends in December 2023.
Photo Credit: Alex Damian