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Healthy Stadia: Promoting community health and lifestyle

This year is the 10th anniversary of the European Union's Public Health Programme. Since the programme began, hundreds of projects and actions to improve public health in Europe have been made possible. The Health Stadia Project is one example of action funded thanks to the Programme. The idea behind the Healthy Stadia project is to use sports stadia to promote health initiatives to the public.

Modern life is busy, we are always rushing here and there, and often put off going to the doctors for regular health checks and don't find the time to do exercise. Health checks are important. Early detection of chronic diseases such as cancer can make treatment much more responsive. Physical activity also plays a key role in preventing disease; adults should do a minimum of 30 minutes moderate-intensity physical activity, five days a week and children should get at least 60 minutes of exercise daily.

Millions of people attend a sports stadium each week to either watch a match, to work, to volunteer or to use the stadium’s facilities. Sport plays an important role within society, so why not use stadia to promote health initiatives? Through the Healthy Stadia project, stadia across Europe focused on different areas, but all with the same goals in mind – that of a healthier lifestyle and a cleaner safer environment to live in.

The European Healthy Stadia Network has shared examples of good practice and lessons learnt from different sports stadia across Europe. Over 30 case studies of good examples were developed and are shared on the network’s website, under the themes of lifestyle, social and environment. In the United Kingdom, at St. Helens Rugby League Football Club, over 500 heath checks were taken, following which, men were encouraged to become more physically active. In Latvia, swimming lessons were given to orphans in the Olympic Sports Centre, increasing the number of children who know how to swim. In Finland, car pooling was promoted amongst team players to reduce pollution due to the car use.

By using the stadia to promote these activities the project has encouraged the public to be more health aware and more responsible for their environment.

Read more about the project and its activities

Healthystadia – Project to use stadia to promote health initiatives

Manchester United Football Club – Fitness, Food and Football – Football coaches speaking to children about leading a healthy lifestyle

Heart of Mersey – England’s largest regional cardiovascular health charity

Read more about healthy lifestyle

European Commission – Public Health – Nutrition and physical activity policy

EEN Epode Network – EU-funded project on combating childhood obesity

The World Heart Foundation – Information on cardiovascular diseases