Report Card for Physical Activity of Children and Youth in Germany

Lack of physical activity and long periods of sitting down depict a central public health-problem. They lead to many chronic degenerative illnesses and affect psychological and social health. However, a significant part of the population does not meet the amount of physical activity that is necessary from the perspective of health while long periods of sitting down without breaks dominates everyday life. This can already be found to be true for children and adolescents.

To promote a more active lifestyle for children and adolescents, information and needs assessment for on a national level is necessary in order to develop and enforce effective measures of encouraging physical activity. These include in particular a clear and general overview of the initial situation regarding a) the population-wide extent and the distribution of various activities of movement and amounts of sitting among children and adolescents (e.g. sport in clubs, free-play, sitting behavior) and b) the factors influencing the specific behavior of moving and sitting (e.g. school, parents, friends, clubs, political strategies)

The aim of this project is to develop and spread an evidence-based, addressee-oriented, informative brochure (Report Card) about the movement and sitting behavior of children and adolescents and factors that impact such behavior. In it, stakeholders in ministries, organizations, and schools who influence the design of possibilities regarding physical activity of children and adolescents, should be sensitized. Only by providing this information can stakeholders take action to encourage and initiate a more active lifestyle demand-oriented amongst children and adolescents. These measures include i.a. the specification of a strategic orientation or focusing for the promotion of physical activity, the enabling of new investments as well as the establishment of central embassies for campaigns.

Innovation potential and value of this project

Through this project, an overview of the latest state of movement and sitting behavior of children and adolescents and the factors influencing this behavior will be provided for the population and experts in the field of promoting physical activity. The evaluation of the data in the form of school grades by a group of experts allows a quick overview of the status of the promotion of physical activity in Germany and exposes areas in which there is a need for more research and measures of encouraging physical activity. Furthermore, it represents an initial description of the situation that can be updated (e.g. every 2 years) and therefore inform about the development in this field.

In some countries (e.g. England, Scotland, USA, Canada, Australia) similar brochures have already been developed, that provide central stakeholders with this information. (www.activehealtykids.org) Evaluations from Canada show that over the past decade after publishing the first version of the brochure (it is updated every two years) more than 80.000 people and organizations have used the brochure to advocate the development of measures promoting physical activity amongst children and adolescents. Moreover, it has been proven that parents accept the tips in the brochure and actively contribute to the increase of physical activity of their children

Funding: Schwenninger Krankenkasse

Period of Funding: 2017-2019

2019

  • Demetriou, Yolanda; Bucksch, Jens; Hebestreit, Antje; Schlund, Annegret; Niessner, Claudia; Schmidt, Steffen C. E.; Finger, Jonas David; Mutz, Michael; Völker, Klaus; Vogt, Lutz; Woll, Alexander; Reimers, Anne K.: Germany’s 2018 report card on physical activity for children and youth. German Journal of Exercise and Sport Research, 2019 more… Full text ( DOI )

2018

  • Aubert, S., Barnes, J. D., Abdeta, C., Nader, P. A., Adeniyi, A. F., Aguilar-Farias, N., Tenesaca, D. S. A., Bhawra, J., Brazo-Sayavera, J., Cardon, G., Chang, C.-K., Nyström, C. D., Demetriou, Y., … & Tremblay, M. S.: Global Matrix 3.0 Physical Activity Report Card grades for children and youth: results and analysis from 49 countries. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2018 more… Full text ( DOI )
  • Aubert, S., Barnes, J. D., Aguilar-Farias, N., Cardon, G., Chang, C.-K., Nyström, C. D., Demetriou, Y., …, & Tremblay, M. S.: Report Card Grades on the Physical Activity of Children and Youth Comparing 30 Very High Human Development Index Countries. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2018 more… Full text ( DOI )
  • Demetriou, Y., Hebestreit, A., Reimers, A. K., Schlund, A., Niessner, C., Schmidt, S., Finger, J., Mutz, M., Völker, K., Vogt, L., Woll, A. & Bucksch, J.: Results From Germany’s 2018 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2018 more… Full text ( DOI )