11 for Health: a FIFA initiative to enhance child well-being

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“11 for Health” is a Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) initiative that teams up the latter with national governments and football associations in unveiling a program that will use the sport of football as a tool for enhancing young people’s well-being. The programme is a result of FIFA’s Medical and Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC) working in collaboration with Grassroots Soccer. It was launched during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and it aims at helping children remember 11 key aspects of disease prevention through football. [1]

Background

Health benefits of soccer were a start point. According to studies performed by a Danish group in 2008, playing regular football by members of an unfit population not only improves physical fitness but also reduces cardiovascular risk factors as well as body mass index. [2]Moreover, the published F-MARC studies found out that, in the long term, football can reduce or prevent the risks of many chronic diseases as concluded by Booth and Roberts. [3]Based on these findings, F-MARC decided to combine the direct health effects of the game with its unique power in education and prevention to create this comprehensive health programme, using top players such as Mexico’s Carlos Vela and Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, to name just a few, to deliver health education messages to young people. [4]All those players featured in the campaign’s advertisement video below.

Objective

According to Dr. Jiri Dvorak, FIFA Chief Medical Officer and chairman of the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre, “The goal of the initiative is to impact on quality of life through prevention, which is the key.” [5]

This goal was confirmed by the governments which adopted the program later on:

  • At the launch event in Mexico in July 2011, Health Minister, José Ángel Córdova Villalobos stated that, “The ‘11 for Health’ programme fits perfectly in our national health promotion activities. It offers an effective, feasible and low-cost tool to improve the health of the young people who are our future.” [6]
  • In the same trend, Colombia’s Deputy Minister for Nursery, Primary and Secondary Education Mauricio Perfetti Del Corral Vice noted that, “11 for Health’ has a clear objective: to let children live healthier lives…It’s a message that President Santos is drumming into us. His main concern is to improve the lives of Colombia’s people, through education in particular.” [7]

Content: The 11 for Health Program

This health programme involves eleven simple messages on prevention with each one being based on a scientific fact and connected to a specific football action:

 

  • Health Message 1: Play football regularly Football – Skill = play football
  • Health Message 2: Respect girls and women Football – Skill = passing
  • Health Message 3: Protect yourself from HIV Football – Skill = heading
  • Health Message 4: Avoid drugs and alcohol Football – Skill = dribbling
  • Health Message 5: Use treated bed nets Football – Skill = shielding
  • Health Message 6: Wash your hands Football – Skill = defending
  • Health Message 7: Drink clean water Football – Skill = trapping
  • Health Message 8: Eat a balanced diet Football – Skill = building fitness
  • Health Message 9: Vaccinate yourself and family Football – Skill = shooting
  • Health Message 10: Take prescribed medication Football – Skill = goalkeeping
  • Health Message 11: Fair play Football – Skill = teamwork

 

These facts are learned through the use of group plays and are a very practical and cost-effective means of educating children and young people. [8]The F-MARC study showed that when combined with different elements of football play, such as defending, heading, shooting and attacking, simple health messages considerably improved knowledge of health issues among boys and girls and changed their habits. [9]


Geographic expansion

The program started in the African continent. This is due to the fact that African countries are the most affected by HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, besides rising levels of Diabetes and heart disease. [10]

Having received positive evaluations in South Africa (2009), Zimbabwe (2010) and Mauritius (2010), “11 for Health” was later launched in Latin America: Mexico (July 2011) and Colombia (August 2011). The program will be introduced at a later stage in Brazil. [11]

The campaign official video advertisement

As stated above, the campaign video featured football stars such as Carlos Vela, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo

See also

Child well-being

Child well-being and progress

References

  1. The FIFA Website (FIFA.com), “11 for Health’’ Comes to Columbia, August 1, 2011.
    Full article is available here
  2. Krustrup P, Nielsen JJ, Krustrup B, et al, Recreational soccer is an effective health promoting activity for untrained men, The British Journal of Sports Medicine, December 14, 2008.
  3. Dvořák J., Give Hippocrates a jersey: promoting health through football/sport, The British Journal of Sports Medicine, March 22, 2009. Full article available here
  4. Paddock Talk, FIFA’s “11 for Health’’ Programme Goes Global, July 1, 2011. Full article available here
  5. The FIFA Website (FIFA.com), “11 for Health’’ Comes to Columbia, August 1, 2011.
    Full article is available here
  6. The Paddock Talk, FIFA’s “11 for Health’’ Programme Goes Global, July 1, 2011. Full article available here
  7. Suite 101, FIFA 2010 World Cup Football ’11 for Health’ Programme, June 22, 2010.
  8. Suite 101, FIFA 2010 World Cup Football ’11 for Health’ Programme, June 22, 2010.
  9. The FIFA Website (FIFA.com), “11 for Health’’ Comes to Columbia, August 1, 2011. Full article is available here
  10. Suite 101, FIFA 2010 World Cup Football ’11 for Health’ Programme, June 22, 2010.
  11. The FIFA Website (FIFA.com), “11 for Health’’ Comes to Columbia, August 1, 2011. Full article is available here

External links

FIFA Official Website

The British Journal of Sports Medicine

The Paddock Talk