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World Innovation Summit for Health

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Catalogue Item

Healthy Children in Sound Communities

Organization: German-Dutch Municipalities

Country: Germany; Holland; Italy; Poland; UK

Forum: Obesity

Initiated by the Network of European Academies of Sports, The Healthy Children in Sound Communities (HCSC) initiative matches schools with community organizations and sports clubs to help students to get 60-90 minutes of physical activity each day. The project encourages schools to deliver 3 hours of Physical Education each week and partner with local community organizations and sports clubs to deliver co-curricular physical activity and health and nutrition education. HCSC also encourages healthy travel to schools, such as ‘walking buses’ (whereby children walk to school along safe routes as a group accompanied by responsible persons), and provides support for healthy eating and food preparation through cookery courses and ‘school fruit events’.

Results based on 557 children from 39 primary schools in 12 municipalities along the German-Dutch border show:

  • A significant improvement in endurance, co-ordination, velocity and force tasks (such as sit-ups, push-ups, 20-meter run and 6-minute run)
  • A significant decrease in BMI
  • In Germany, the number of children with a BMI categorized as obese or overweight decreased by 15% to 14.6%. In the Netherlands, this decreased from 12.8% to 12%.

Following the success of the intervention of the cross-border project in Germany and the Netherlands, the program has also been implemented in Italy, Poland, the UK and the Czech Republic.

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