New EU project targets obesity in Maltese children
● Free athletics, gymnastics and swimming for overweight children
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 firstname.lastname@example.org before 14 November. An informative session for parents will be organised on 17 November. For more information visit www.fopsim.eu