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Building on the achievements of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004

Building on the achievements of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Building on the achievements of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Sport

Building on the achievements of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 22 December 2005: “EU action in the field of Education through Sport: building on EYES 2004 achievements” [COM(2005)680 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

EYES 2004 was launched to increase awareness on the potential of sport as a tool for education and social inclusion. The wider aim of this initiative was to promote education through sport in formal and non-formal education.

Objectives and outputs

Specific objectives included promoting voluntary activities, pupil mobility and exchanges through sport activities, social inclusion of disadvantaged groups and the creation of a better balance between intellectual and physical activity in school life. The main results are:

  • involvement of the 25 Member States and the 3 EFTA/EEA countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway;
  • 167 projects co-financed, out of 1643 applications;
  • 66 projects in the field of formal education;
  • 60 projects using the values of sport in activities for young people;
  • 30 ceremonies (opening and closing of EYES);
  • representation at 12 international events such as Euro 2004 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games;
  • 2 Eurobarometer surveys.

Cooperation with the participating countries was channelled through the Advisory Committee in which most of them were represented by delegates from Education and Sport departments. This has become the first stable European network of public authorities responsible for education and sport.

During EYES 2004, the Commission cooperated with the Council of Europe, notably by co-financing a project in the field of education on democratic citizenship in Europe. As part of the preparations for the International Year for Sport and Physical Education in 2005, a fruitful dialogue was established with UNESCO with a view to continuing activities in 2005.

Impact assessment

The initiative has created and built up lasting networks and often new partnerships between education and sport. EYES 2004 provided numerous examples of good practices which go beyond its networking achievements.

Its main impacts have been:

  • a significant contribution to disseminating the educational values of sport;
  • the fostering and increasing recognition of activities in the field of education through sport;
  • a contribution to changing the attitudes of the European public in this area.

However, its effects seem to have been more limited in other ways, for example in promoting sport as a vehicle for social inclusion of disadvantaged groups, encouraging a better balance between intellectual and physical activity in school life, and highlighting the positive contribution made by voluntary work and student mobility.

Expectations in formal education

Formal education could take better advantage of the values conveyed through sport to develop knowledge, motivation, skills, readiness for personal effort and social abilities. This makes sport essential in formal education for acquiring and developing key skills needed by everyone for personal fulfilment, social inclusion and employability.

On the other hand, formal education has a crucial role to play in encouraging habits leading to regular physical activity and in countering unhealthy lifestyle habits.

The expectations surrounding EYES 2004 led to the following ideas:

  • using national expertise to develop a better understanding and increased knowledge at EU level of the place of sport and physical activity in school life;
  • raising awareness of the mutual benefits for educational institutions and sport organisations;
  • improving recognition of the qualifications of those who teach sport-related professions (e.g. trainers and sports managers);
  • taking advantage of the potential of sport and physical activity in formal education to reverse current trends towards a sedentary and passive lifestyle;
  • making full use of the results of EYES 2004 by capitalising on the good practices developed and taking better advantage of the possibilities for financing projects and initiatives based on sporting activities.

Expectations in non-formal learning

EYES has proven that there was a demand in European civil society for sport to be used in non-formal learning and as a tool for promoting social integration, developing intercultural dialogue and combating discrimination, particularly racism and xenophobia.

Taking part in sport is educational not only in its own right but also by virtue of active participation in sport clubs and organisations, which helps to reinforce civil society through teaching practical democratic values.

Follow-up by the European Commission

The Commission, within the limits of its competence and in full respect of the principle of subsidiarity and the autonomy of educational institutions and sport organisations, will ensure a follow-up to EYES 2004, in particular along the following lines:

  • carrying out new studies, organising further expert meetings and launching new surveys;
  • continuing to organise meetings with the public authorities responsible for education and sport and expanding them to stakeholders in both areas;
  • intensifying dialogue and cooperation with the Sport Movement on the educational and social functions of the sport (e.g. volunteering, participation in sport notably for women, fight against racism and xenophobia, education and protection of young athletes, etc.);
  • taking advantage of the possibilities to finance projects and initiatives on sporting activities in the framework of EU actions (e.g. future European Years, the new EU programme on “Integrated Life Long Learning”, “Youth in Action” and “Citizens for Europe”);
  • improving recognition of the qualifications in sport-related professions and facilitating mobility;
  • raising awareness of the importance of physical activity in reversing the trend towards obesity.

Background

In Declaration 29 attached to the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice European Council recognised that sport forges people’s identity. In the Nice declaration, the European Council underlined that, “even though [it does not have] any direct powers in this area, the Community must, in its action under the various Treaty provisions, take account of the social, educational and cultural functions inherent in sport.”

The Council, in its Resolution of 17 December 1999 on the non-formal education dimension of sporting activities in the European Community YOUTH programme, called upon the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to devise a coherent approach in order to exploit the educational potential of sport, considering that sporting activities can have a pedagogical value which contributes to strengthening civil society.

This Communication is the response to the request from the European Parliament and the Council for the Commission to report on the measures taken during the European Year of Education through Sport 2004 (EYES 2004).

Related Acts

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 February 2003 establishing the European Year of Education through Sport 2004 [Official Journal L 43 of 18.02.2003].

Obesity, nutrition and physical activity

Obesity, nutrition and physical activity

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Obesity, nutrition and physical activity

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Public health > Health determinants: lifestyle

Obesity, nutrition and physical activity

Document or Iniciative

Conclusions of the Employment, Social Policy, Heath and Consumer Affairs Council of 3 June 2005, “Obesity, nutrition and physical activity ” [Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Tackling obesity

Obesity is a multi-causal condition, and tackling it requires a comprehensive preventive approach, including multi-stakeholder efforts at local, regional, national, European and global levels.

Promoting healthy diets and physical activity has potential for reducing not only obesity but also the risks related to hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and certain forms of cancer. More generally, healthy diets and physical activity considerably improve the quality of life.

Physical activity is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. For this reason, learning to enjoy sport and physical activity at school and during leisure time, as well as starting education about healthy living at an early age, is of the utmost importance.

Recommendations

The Council calls upon the Member States and, where appropriate, the European Commission to conceive and implement initiatives aimed at promoting healthy diets and physical activity, including:

Healthy diets

  • enabling citizens to make healthy dietary choices, and ensuring that healthy dietary options are available, affordable and accessible;
  • fostering citizens’ knowledge on the relationship between diet and health, energy intake and output, on diets that lower the risk of chronic diseases, and on healthy choices of food items;
  • ensuring that consumers are not misled by advertising, marketing and promotion activities, and that especially the credulity of children and their limited experience with the media are not exploited;

Participation of all stakeholders

  • enabling health professionals to give, on a routine basis, practical advice to patients and families on the benefits of optimal diets and increased levels of physical activity;
  • encouraging stakeholders who are in a position to support the promotion of healthy diets (e.g. food producers, food processors, retailers, caterers) to take initiatives to this end;

Mainstreaming

mainstreaming of nutrition and physical activity into all relevant policies at local, regional, national and European levels, such as policies aimed at reducing the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption;

Physical activity and education

  • monitoring the trends of healthy nutrition and physical activity in the population and further developing research and the scientific basis for actions in the field;
  • fostering education on, and the supply of, healthy dietary choices at schools, and encouraging children and adolescents to exercise on a daily basis;
  • developing nutrition and physical education activities for children as an integrated part of health education in general, which should also focus on issues such as combating smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and the use of drugs, as well as promoting sexual health and mental health;
  • encouraging employers to offer healthy choices at workplace canteens and to provide facilities which encourage the practice of physical activity;
  • fostering the development of urban environments that are conducive to physical activity.

Background

The rise in obesity prevalence rates throughout the EU has become a very worrying phenomenon. More and more children are now overweight or obese. The figures are alarming and the consequences no less so, as obesity goes hand in hand with an increase in cardiovascular problems and diabetes.

To fight against this danger, the Commission set up an EU Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health in March 2005. The objective of this initiative, which involves experts on both nutrition and physical exercise, is to tackle the growing phenomenon of obesity in Europe in order to curb this trend.

 

Green Paper on promoting healthy diets and physical activity

Green Paper on promoting healthy diets and physical activity

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Green Paper on promoting healthy diets and physical activity

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Public health > Health determinants: lifestyle

Green Paper on promoting healthy diets and physical activity

Through this Green paper on promoting healthy diets and physical activity, the Commission intends to trigger debate on initiatives geared towards preventing obesity. The primary objective is to create conditions under which the best practices can be adopted throughout Europe.
At present, in the EU countries, up to 27% of the male population and 38% of females, including more than 3 million children, suffer from obesity.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 8 December 2005 “Promoting healthy diets and physical activity: a European dimension for the prevention of overweight, obesity and chronic diseases” [COM(2005) 637 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity are the leading causes of avoidable illness and premature death in Europe, and the rising incidence of obesity is a major public health concern for the countries of the European Union (EU).

In its conclusions of 3 June 2005, the Council called on the Member States and the Commission to devise and implement initiatives aimed at promoting healthy diets and physical activity.

Furthermore, the Council stressed that many factors have to be taken into account when addressing the problem of obesity. It accordingly called for the development of strategies entailing a multi-stakeholder approach with action being taken at local, regional, national and European levels.

Objectives of the Green Paper

The Green Paper invites contributions from interested parties on a wide range of topics relating to nutrition and physical activity. The aim is to gather information with a view to giving a European dimension to the battle against obesity, in terms of support for and coordination of the existing national measures.

COMMUNITY-LEVEL STRUCTURES AND INSTRUMENTS

A number of instruments and structures are geared to combating obesity at European level.

European Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health

Launched in March 2005, the Platform is designed to establish a common forum for action in the fight against obesity. It brings together all the relevant players at European level who are willing to enter into binding commitments to tackle overweight and obesity issues.

European Network on Nutrition and Physical Activity

The purpose of the Network set up in 2003 is to advise the Commission on the development of Community activities to improve nutrition, to reduce and prevent diet-related diseases, to promote physical activity and to combat obesity.

Health across EU policies

Preventing overweight and obesity entails an integrated approach to better health through other Community policies (e.g. consumer, social, agriculture, environment, education policies) providing active support.

The Public Health Action Programme

Nutrition-related aspects and the problem of obesity crop up in various strands of the Action Programme, particularly from the point of view of information (collection of data on the epidemiology of obesity and on behavioural issues) and health determinants (support for projects aimed at promoting physical exercise and healthy eating habits).

The Commission’s proposal for a new programme on health and consumer protection also places emphasis on promotion and prevention in the area of nutrition and physical activity.

Questions

On the subject of existing Community-level structures and instruments, the Green Paper invites the interested parties to respond to a series of questions focusing on:

  • the specific contribution which EU policies could make towards the promotion of healthy diets and physical activity;
  • the type of Community or national measures which could help to improve the attractiveness, availability, accessibility and affordability of fruit and vegetables;
  • the way in which the Public Health Action Programme could help to raise awareness of the potential which healthy eating habits and physical activity have for reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

AREAS FOR ACTION

Efforts to promote healthy diets and physical activity and to combat obesity are likely to be spread across many areas. For each area concerned, the Commission is seeking the views of interested parties by asking a number of specific questions.

Consumer information and advertising

Consumer policy aims to empower people to make informed choices about their diet, and clear information about the nutritional content of products is a necessary element of this approach.

The Commission has accordingly presented a proposal for a regulation aimed at harmonising the rules concerning nutritional and health claims. The Commission is also considering amending the current rules on nutrition labelling.

As regards advertising and marketing, steps have to be taken to ensure that consumers are not misled and, in particular, that the credulity and lack of media savvy among vulnerable consumers (especially children) are not exploited.

In this field, self-regulation of the industry may provide a valid solution, as it has a number of advantages over external regulation, mainly in terms of speed and flexibility.

Questions. The questions raised in this Green Paper deal mainly with:

  • the major nutrients and categories of products to be considered when providing nutritional information to consumers;
  • voluntary codes (self-regulation), their effectiveness, and alternatives to be considered if self-regulation fails;
  • the measures to be taken to ensure that that children’s credulity and lack of media savvy are not exploited by advertising and marketing techniques.

Consumer education

People need to be better informed about the factors which play a role in causing obesity, with particular reference to:

  • the relationship between diet and health;
  • energy intake and output;
  • diets which lower the risk of chronic diseases;
  • healthy food choices.

In this connection, simple and clear messages need to be developed and disseminated through various media channels and in forms appropriate to local culture, age and gender.

Questions. With a view to identifying best practices, the participants are invited to respond to questions on the following matters:

  • ways of helping consumers to make fully informed choices;
  • the contribution of public-private partnerships towards consumer education;
  • the key messages which need to be conveyed to consumers in respect of diet and physical activity, how to deliver them and who should be responsible for this.

Focusing on children and young people

The eating habits which are developed during childhood and adolescence are often the precursor of health problems occurring in adulthood.
Schools can provide an environment which helps to steer children towards healthy habits and behavioural patterns. They are particularly well placed to promote health and to encourage healthy eating and physical activity.

Although the measures applied within schools come under the competence of the Member States, the Community can make a contribution by helping to identify and spread best practices.

Questions. The areas concerned are:

  • improvement of the nutritional value of school meals and ways of informing parents about how to improve the nutritional value of meals at home;
  • good practice regarding the provision of regular physical activity in schools;
  • good practice in encouraging school pupils to make healthy dietary choices;
  • the role of the media, health services, civil society and sectors of industry in supporting health education efforts made by schools.

The workplace

Like schools, the workplace can also provide a suitable environment for encouraging healthy eating and physical exercise (meal choices offered by canteens, availability of facilities for participating in physical activity, etc.)

Questions. The questions deal with:

  • the way in which employers can offer balanced meal choices in workplace canteens and improve the nutritional value of canteen meals;
  • measures which would encourage and facilitate the taking of physical activity during breaks and on the way to and from work.

The health professionals’ role

Health professionals have a major role to play in improving patients’ understanding of the relationship between diet, physical activity and health, and in bringing about the necessary lifestyle changes.

Questions. In this area, the Commission is seeking the views of the interested parties on the measures needed to boost the promotion of healthy diets and physical activity in health services.

Linkage with other policies

Transport and urban planning policies have a role to play in encouraging physical activity. They can help to make physical activity a more integral part of people’s daily lives by, for example, ensuring that walking and cycling are easy and safe, or by promoting non-motorised modes of transport.

Questions. The questions have to do with:

  • the way in which public policies can help to ensure that physical activity becomes an integral part of daily life;
  • the measures needed to foster the creation of environments that are conducive to physical activity.

Socio-economic inequalities

Social status, income and level of education are the main determinants as regards the food which people choose to eat and the extent to which they engage in physical activity.

Questions. The questions focus on:

  • the measures which could promote healthy eating and physical activity among population groups and households of certain lower-level socio-economic categories;
  • how to address the “clustering of bad habits” that is frequently seen in certain socio-economic groups?

A comprehensive and integrated approach

A consistent and comprehensive approach towards diet and physical activity involves taking account of these aspects in all relevant policies at local, regional, national and European levels, creating supportive environments, and devising and using appropriate tools for assessing the impact of other policies on nutritional health and physical activity.

Questions. The questions relate to:

  • the identification of the most important elements of an integrated and comprehensive approach towards encouraging physical activity and healthy eating;
  • the input at the national and Community levels.

NEXT STEPS

The organisations concerned are invited to submit their replies by 15 March 2006 at the latest. The Commission departments will then conduct an analysis of the contributions received, which will be summarised in a report due to be published in June 2006.

In the light of the results of the consultation process, the Commission will consider the measures to be proposed and the instruments needed for implementing them.

Related Acts

Conclusions of the Council for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs of 3 June 2005, “Obesity, nutrition and physical activity” [Not published in the Official Journal].

of 14 December 2000 on health and nutrition [Official Journal C 20 of 23.01.2001].