The national program “We are the moving generation!” recently awarded the winners from 2 participating cities in the annual competition: Bucharest – 9th and 10th grade-students from “Miguel de Cervantes” Bilingual Theoretical High-school who voluntarily completed 212 physical and sports activities during their leisure time, totaling 265 hours and Ploieşti – students from “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” National College who registered 152 activities, carried out in 206 hours.
Launched by the PRAIS Foundation in 2014 and implemented throughout a period of three years, the program “We are the moving generation!” aims at educating teenagers 14 to 16 years of age on the benefits of carrying out daily physical exercise and sports. This social marketing project was built on the results of the study “Obiceiurile de stil de viaţă ale adolescenţilor” (Teenagers’ lifestyle habits) conducted by the foundation in collaboration with the Sociology Department of the Faculty of Political and Administrative Sciences within SNSPA, under the coordination of the department’s director, Vintilă Mihăilescu, PhD.
The study focused on a representative sample of over 990 respondents 14 to 16 years of age from Bucharest and Ploieşti revealed that a typical high-school teenager spends approximately 6.5 hours at school on a daily basis and assigns an average of 2.1 hours to individual study. Furthermore, this teenager spends an average of 2.6 hours watching TV, 1.5 hours playing computer games and 3 to 4 hours communicating with his friends online. 7.9 hours in average are dedicated to sleep. 46% of the students part of the survey carry out physical exercises only once a week or do not carry out at all, while only 17% practice sports every day. Over 50% of the respondents carry out physical exercises between 30 minutes and one hour on a daily basis. 36% of the students admitted they do not wake up rested, 38% feel sleepy or have fallen asleep at school, while 29% experienced focus-related issues. These results show that the teenagers included in the targeted sample have a sedentary life style which in addition to other causes may affect their power to concentrate in school, may lead to fatigue and consequently may affect their general health in time.
„The young persons are often referred to as the “internet generation”, and nothing more. This study draws focus, among others on an alarming fact: this connection with the virtual world tends to “disconnect” teenagers from movement, which may affect their body and health later on”, declared Prof. Dr. Vintilă Mihăilescu, Director of the Sociology Department of the Political Sciences Faculty within SNSPA.
The activation of the targeted 15,000 teenagers included focus groups, a comprehensive social-media campaign, dissemination of over 40,000 information materials to 30,000 high-school students, 72 theme events, open lessons and awarding ceremonies with the participation of dancers, renowned athletes, UNEFS students, volunteers. The monthly competitions stimulated their creativity, their ability to mobilize and their talent. The Gym Class and Flash-mobs competitions were based on videos containing group gymnastics and choreography exercises created by students and posted on the YouTube channel “The Moving Generation” and on the Facebook page, with the purpose to be promoted in order to achieve the objective and collect as many likes as possible.
“Our main priority is to create a community where teenagers experience once again the pleasure and the multiple benefits generated by physical activities and sports alongside their colleagues and friends. The survey emphasized the extremely sedentary lifestyle describing the young generation, with all its implications. We live in an age where access to technology, internet and urban life dramatically limits the time dedicated to movement at any age. Therefore we are committed to change the lifestyle habits of young persons throughout three years, using motivating and stimulating methodologies on several levels. We are also certain that the family plays a decisive role in this collective endeavor, therefore we believe it should be well informed on the importance of outdoor activities and daily physical exercises for children”, declared Silvia Bucur, President of PRAIS Foundation.
1.053 sports and physical exercises were registered on the program’s portal, totaling 1,309 hours. The 10 open lessons conducted in high-schools engaged over 700 students, members of the Students’ Councils, volunteers of PRAIS Foundation and UNEFS students. 36 videos were created by the participants, while 230 teenagers mobilized to initiate 9 flash mobs. Throughout only 5 months, the program’s main channel of information totaled over 39,000 views, while the messages posted on the program’s Facebook page accounted for an overall audience of 200,000 persons and 8,700 likes. The YouTube channel gathered up to date over 56,000 views.