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Be Active - Be Well

Together with youth organizations from the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, and Croatia, @Change has launched the "Be Active, Be Well" project. This project is aimed at promoting physical activity among European youth. The goal is to create a playful intervention that helps professionals—such as youth workers and psychologists—and young people to support youth in building an active lifestyle. All project results will be freely available on a digital platform upon completion.


Initial research among European youth has shown that they do want to live actively, but something often seems to be missing from the 'puzzle' to actually do so. The missing link is different for everyone. Some struggle with establishing a routine, others are looking for a suitable activity or companionship, and some need more knowledge about the benefits of an active lifestyle. It is especially important to support vulnerable groups with fewer opportunities and financial resources in this regard. An extra vulnerable group, for whom physical activity is particularly beneficial, is youth with mental health issues. This is a significant target group within this project, as regular physical activity can greatly reduce depressive feelings and anxiety symptoms.


How to Promote Physical Activity?

Through interviews with both youth and youth workers in all participating countries, the Be Active, Be Well partnership has investigated what motivates and hinders young people when it comes to leading an active life. This makes it possible to better identify in which areas a physical activity intervention for youth can add the most value.


During the research and interviews, I, Anne Verlaek, work package leader of the research phase, noticed that young people see the power of physical activity mainly in being together and doing activities with others. However, they also have a strong need for autonomy, such as being able to decide for themselves which activities they will engage in long-term. On the youth workers' side, we observed that they recognize the need to stimulate physical activity among youth, but currently lack the tools and know-how to best do so during their interactions with young people.


Bas Altenburg, involved in the project from 8D Games, adds: "It is also important that young people understand how motivation works. Only when you can pinpoint and reflect on the reasons for 'drop-out behaviour' can you effectively address the pitfalls in your own motivation. Someone who finds sports fun and useful but struggles to establish a routine, and is aware of this, can be given practical tools and tips to address that specific pitfall. Healthier (physical) behaviour, in that sense, starts with greater self-regulation. This is an important conclusion that we are incorporating into our design for the intervention."


As the project initiator, I am proud that we will be working on this interesting project in the coming period. Would you like to know more about this project, review the full research report, or join a test later in the process? Always welcome! Feel free to contact me.


Be Active, Be Well is a collaboration between Sirius (Croatia), @Change (Netherlands), 8D Games (Netherlands), Smile of The Child (Greece), and YEPP Europe (Germany). The project is made possible by Erasmus+.

Promoting active lifestyle among European youth
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Project Number: KA220-YOU-000165028

This project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.


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