New EU pro­ject tar­gets obe­sity in Mal­tese chil­dren

● Free ath­let­ics, gym­nas­tics and swim­ming for over­weight chil­dren

Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

Malta lead­ing the EU in hav­ing the high­est over­weight and obe­sity rates is not some­thing any of us is proud of but un­for­tu­nately th­ese are the re­sults pub­lished by a World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion re­port re­cently.

To­day’s way of life has forced us to change our habits. Many peo­ple have re­duced phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and be­come over­weight due to a highly seden­tary life­style, the same is true for chil­dren who spend more time nowa­days do­ing home­work and us­ing tech­nol­ogy (smart­phones, tablets and com­put­ers) rather than be­ing ac­tive out­doors. By do­ing so, each of us is en­dan­ger­ing our own health now and even more so, in the fu­ture. In fact due to this, tack­ling child­hood obe­sity is one of the main pri­or­i­ties of the Malta Pres­i­dency 2017.

FOPSIM – the Foun­da­tion for the Pro­mo­tion of So­cial In­clu­sion Malta – has launched the On the Move pro­ject which is funded un­der the Eras­mus+ Sport pro­gramme of the EU.

The pro­ject tar­gets chil­dren be­tween four and seven years of age, who are over­weight, obese and/or with a low level of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. “We have pre­pared a pro­gramme which will com­bine ex­er­cises in three dis­ci­plines (ath­let­ics, gym­nas­tics and swim­ming), nu­tri­tion lec­tures and cook­ing work­shops over three months start­ing on 19 Novem­ber with ses­sions three

times per week. The par­tic­i­pa­tion is free of charge with the con­di­tion to be present for 80% of the ses­sions,” ex­plains Dar­ryl Grima from FOPSIM.

Chris Agius, Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Re­search, In­no­va­tion, Youth and Sport also gave his sup­port to this pro­ject since it will as­sist in build­ing a health­ier na­tion through more par­tic­i­pa­tion in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and health­ier life­styles. “Such pro­grammes help us in the fight against obe­sity,” stated Mr Agius.

All in­di­ca­tors say that the most vul­ner­a­ble sec­tion of the pop­u­la­tion is chil­dren. If we in­stil in them healthy habits such as good nu­tri­tion and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity at an early age, they are more likely to con­tinue liv­ing a healthy life­style in their adult­hood.

Prob­lems of in­ac­tive, over­weight and obese chil­dren are not only spe­cific to Malta, the whole EU re­gion faces the same chal­lenge − how to pre­vent obe­sity among chil­dren and en­sure that they have ac­cess to a healthy life­style. The On the Move pro­ject was launched with Croa­tia as the lead part­ner with other par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries namely Malta, Por­tu­gal, Slo­vakia, Slove­nia and the United King­dom.

The course will be held at Spinach Kids Fit­ness. So, if you have an over­weight child and would like to ben­e­fit from this op­por­tu­nity, en­rol them in this pro­gramme by send­ing an email to alan­pace19@gmail.com be­fore 14 Novem­ber. An in­for­ma­tive ses­sion for par­ents will be or­gan­ised on 17 Novem­ber. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.fopsim.eu

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