Promotion of Physical Activity for Basque Children

Image - Promotion of Physical Activity for Basque Children

author: Mikel Bringas, 

In the Basque Country we have a large tradition surrounding the promotion of sports, but the idea about the creation of an active society, encouraging everyone to be active and targeting the most inactive people, is something that started a few years ago.

But sometimes the initiatives to promote physical activity, being focused on making inactive people stop being inactive, only reach adults and the elderly.

To create adequate and strong life habits, it is necessary to focus on childhood programs. The younger we are, the more capacity our brain has to change through experience, and the effort required for these changes is less.

International experts warn us that today's children and adolescents are the least fit generation ever. Today's youth are estimated to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

The problem is related to physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyle, and if it is not measured it will be invisible: "What is measured is treasured". Apparently in the Basque Country we may be suffering from the same problem.

For this reason, as a first step, it has been proposed to find what the situation of physical activity is in Basque childhood-adolescence. To do this, three different initiatives have been launched:

1.For the first time, the Basque Country has participated in the international initiative Global Matrix. You can check the report made here.

2. A pilot test has been carried out for the implementation of a physical fitness surveillance system. This is the final report and you also can watch this short video:

3. Finally, a laborious accelerometry study is being carried out including a representative sample of the Basque Country of 1,111 students. The study will be finished in October 2022.

As can be seen, none of these three actions improves the physical activity in Basque children-adolescents, but they can be useful tools to send to decision makers as an urgent call for action. As an example, this is the video of the session we held with the Ministers of Education, Health and Culture, the three main Basque universities and international experts:

Diagnosing the situation is much easier than improving it. Will we succeed in creating new policies that increase physical activity in the future? Including PAL is one of the options, as we showed in the session in which Bryn Llewellyn himself participated: