Bad eating habits of children have been one of the main problems of public health for several years, which can lead to many diseases, e.g. obesity. Children’s obesity is associated with many problems, both physical and emotional. A great deal of research confirms that obesity in school-age children leads to a greater risk of obesity in adulthood. Epidemiological studies clearly show that obesity occurs at an earlier age and causes an increase in the risk of incidence of various diseases, as well as becomes a major social and economic problem.
Apart from improper eating habits, an extremely important factor influencing the increase in the risk of obesity is reduced physical activity. In the era of the Internet, gaming consoles and television in a world full of unhealthy and processed food, fewer and fewer children decide to spend their free time actively. Instead of a walk, they choose the next episode of their favorite series or go to the next level in the game. From year to year, the percentage of children who are interested in playing or sports in the open air decreases. While watching TV or surfing the Internet, children cannot avoid watching food advertisements, from which they learn that the best breakfast options are „healthy” cereals, nut cream or a delicious, sweet snack and „healthy, full of vitamins and sugar-free” juice. These types of advertisements perpetuate incorrect eating habits and life style.
The deterioration of eating habits and a decrease in physical activity are confirmed by numerous studies conducted by international organizations of the World Health Organization, Health Behavior in School-aged Children as well as organizations in partner countries, including Institute of Healthcare – Poland, Swedish Public Health Agency – Sweden, Turkey Nutrition and Health Survey – Turkey, Special Hospital of Thyroid and Metabolism Diseases Zlatibor – Serbia. Schools undertake initiatives aimed at changing students’ eating habits and habits and increasing their physical activity. They run interest clubs, take part in health-promoting projects, educate parents, and include health-related topics in school programs.
Despite these efforts, students aged 9-14 and their parents are characterized by having low awareness of a healthy lifestyle that includes both proper nutrition and physical activity. The schools implementing the project want to change the attitudes of both students and their parents. They want to show students together that „slow food” (local and traditional dishes; the way food is produced; promoting the culture of eating healthy food; buying food from local sources, made using traditional recipes) is trendy and can be a great alternative to culture that destroys people ” junk food „. The idea of „slow food” is complemented by a healthy, active lifestyle, which can provide the student with an excellent form of spending free time outdoors with their peers
Proper eating habits and appropriate physical activity are one of the basic elements of a healthy lifestyle for schoolchildren. School age is the most optimal period in which they can be properly taught and shapes. Regular and rational nutrition, the ability to properly combine meals, and exercise in the fresh air ensure good condition and health, while poor nutrition of children and lack of physical activity are an early risk factor for overweight and obesity.
Many studies confirm that an obese child grows into an obese teenager, and an obese teenager becomes an obese adult whose life and everyday functioning is often burdened with many diseases and diseases resulting from excessive kilograms and low physical activity. School has a very important role to play in promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. School is the environment for the functioning of children, which in a variety of ways can influence the formation of appropriate health behaviors, especially in the field of nutrition and physical activity, and enable their practice in everyday life.
Based on research conducted in schools, including interviews with students and parents, observation of students in, among others during physical education classes, analysis of school documentation (absences from physical education classes), we came to the conclusion that we, as schools, must change it.
The implementation of the project will enable the implementation of the main goal, which is: changing eating habits and increasing the physical activity of students aged 9 – 14 and increasing the awareness of students and their parents about a healthy and active lifestyle during the project.
Through the implementation of the project and joint international activities, partner schools: develop a sense of responsibility for health in each student, activate students to an active and healthy lifestyle, support the development of students’ physical, mental and social potential and strengthen their self-esteem; equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to make choices to improve their own health, including a rational, healthy way of life; create conditions conducive to health for participation in the didactic and educational process through participation in extracurricular and extracurricular activities; they will change the eating habits of their students and motivate them to spend more free time outdoors as part of sports, games and hiking.
In addition, the implementation of the project will change the attitude of parents who will realize how important it is for a young developing organism to eat properly and regularly. In addition, activities under the project will contribute to the implementation of additional goals, such as: shaping key competences; increasing students’ interest in regional cuisine, including the cuisine of the ground floor; arranging students’ free time; extending cooperation and synergies with partners and establishing lasting friendships; shaping a positive image of the school in the country and EU countries; shaping pro-European attitudes; learning about other cultures; development and implementation of new and innovative methods and forms of work; raising the awareness of the benefits of participation in EU projects among the school community and the local community; creating a more modern, dynamic, committed and professional environment inside the school, open to modern methods and good practices in everyday activities.
The main activities in the project are international meetings of students and teachers from each institution in each organization. The aim of these meetings will be to work together on the main goal of the project, which is to change eating habits and increase the physical activity of students aged 9-14, and to raise awareness of both children and their parents about a healthy and active lifestyle during the project. Mobility teachers: they will work on the questionnaires; together with students, they will plan information activities on eating habits and physical activity, plan a campaign aimed at changing the eating habits and physical activity of students; they will develop lesson plans, presentations, educational charts, newsletters, videos on the implementation of the main goal of the project.
Students during mobility: they will work together with teachers on information activities regarding the purpose of the project, preparing a campaign aimed at changing the eating habits and physical activity of the students; plan and prepare a happening, an etude or a short presentation about the project’s goal; they will prepare videos promoting healthy food, they will work on the results of the project: programming short animations / games related to the project’s goal, development of the project logo and poster promoting the project, preparation of a cookbook, presentations, running a website – blog and fanpage on Facebook regarding the project.
In addition to identical activities that will be carried out in individual countries, e.g. surveys, lectures: on products and regional cuisine, the impact of physical activity on human health; culinary workshops; each of the partner schools will plan activities that will be implemented during joint meetings, among others field games, learning how to cook regional dishes, visiting ecological farms, sports competitions, tasting traditional dishes, workshops in gastronomic secondary schools and universities.
The number and variety of tasks that were jointly planned by the partners at the stage of project development and use in the activities of associated partners, eg the Rural Housewives’ Association; local producers of bread, cheese and honey; high schools and colleges; sports clubs will allow not only to achieve the main goal of the project, but also to conduct activities promoting a healthy lifestyle among students, based on the local potential after the end of the project, and to establish permanent cooperation, which will result in joint ventures in the local community aimed at changing eating habits and activities physical.
The results of this project are closely related to the specific objectives of the project and correspond to its main purpose. Through the activities under the project, we want to achieve the following results, both intangible (e.g. attitudes, habits) and tangible (products): Intangible results:
• improving the health of our students;
• developing a sense of responsibility for health in each student;
• supporting the development of students’ physical, mental and social potential and strengthening their self-esteem;
• increasing student participation in sport and physical activity as a tool to support health and well-being;
• equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary to make choices to improve their own health, including a rational, healthy way of life;
• increasing students’ awareness of what they eat;
• increasing parents’ awareness of the importance of proper and regular nutrition and physical activity for a young, developing organism
• increasing students’ interest in regional cuisine, including the kitchen of the ground floor, which will become an alternative to „junk food”;
• developing students’ passion for sports;
• arranging students’ free time;
• enrichment of activities classroom and extra-curricular by sharing the acquired experience, skills and knowledge, using materials (results) developed during the project;
• shaping pro-European attitudes;
• raising the awareness of the benefits of participation in EU projects among the school community and the local community;
• development of key competences that are necessary to function in the knowledge-based economy; • establishing and expanding cooperation and synergy with partner schools and institutions supporting the work of schools abroad;
• shaping a positive image of the school in the country and EU countries by promoting Erasmus + projects and their results;
• getting to know cultural goods and participating in cultural events in the partner’s country;
• making people aware of the possibilities and benefits of the ability to manage free time and positively influencing personal development;
• development and implementation of new and innovative methods and forms of work (supporting and disseminating best practice);
• establishing lasting friendships, cooperation with young people and teachers from partner countries;
• students and teachers became fully-fledged Europeans, free from prejudices and xenophobic behavior;
• developing appropriate pro-European attitudes (which is very important in a world in which extreme nationalism is intensifying).
Material results (Products):
• survey questionnaires;
• educational tools for students (lesson plans, presentations, posters, mind maps, animations and simple computer games, multimedia presentations, cookbook);
•photos and videos of the project implementation;
•plays, happenings, videos about a healthy and active lifestyle;
• project website;
•newsletters about the project, roll ups.
„Co-funded by the European Union”.
Źródło (zdjęcia): Vlad Vasnetsov/Pixabay