[WATCH] Physical activity programme launched in secondary schools

The 'Schools in Movement' programme aims to increase students' physical activity during the school day by introducing exercise during break time

Parliamentary Health Secretary Chris Fearne • Photos by Ray Attard
Parliamentary Health Secretary Chris Fearne • Photos by Ray Attard
Parliamentary Sport Secretary Chris Agius
Parliamentary Sport Secretary Chris Agius
Physical activity programme for secondary schools launched • Video by Ray Attard

A programme to encourage young students to be physically active was launched earlier today by parliamentary secretaries for health and sport Chris Fearne and Chris Agius and project leader Charmaine Gauci.

During a visit to Sir Thomas More College at Zejtun, students performed a dance as a demonstration of what the programme will consist of.

Gauci explained that a number of schools had already applied for the programme, called 'Schools on the Move: Malta’, and that a focus group had determined that the best time for physical activity was during break time.

"Coaches from Sport Malta or PE teachers from the schools themselves will organize the exercises to be carried out at this time on two days of the week and children can volunteer to lead the sessions during the rest of the week."

Gauci added that the chosen students would also receive special training to lead the sessions and that they would initially focus on dance.

Agius said that dance was chosen by many young people as a way to stay active and relax, given that it features music so prominently.

“Physical activity should not stop just at school and it should be a part of young people’s everyday lives,” he said, stressing the importance of keeping physical activity as part of daily routine even well into adulthood.

Fearne encouraged students to spread the word about the importance of physical education in their everyday lives.

Quoting WHO statistics, Fearne said that some 33% of Maltese young people were classified as overweight or obese and that these statistics had highlighted the importance of such an initiative.

Gauci added that the initiative was financed by the EU and that coaches would also be paid from the funds.

"The fund will also lead to an awareness campaign later next year," she added.

Fearne further explained that efforts were also being made in various state schools to promote healthy eating, with some tuck shops banning sugary drinks and snacks as well as fast foods.

“Some schools are even creating rules regarding what children can bring from home for lunch,” Fearne said.

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