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Health education through football (soccer): the ‘11 for health’ programme as a success story on implementation: learn, play and have fun!
  1. Jane S Thornton1,
  2. Jiri Dvorak2,
  3. Irfan Asif3
  1. 1 Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Western Ontario Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Department of Neurology, Schulthess Klinik and Swiss Golf Medical Center, Zurich, Switzerland
  3. 3 Department of Family and Community Medicine, UAB, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jane S Thornton, Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Western Ontario Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, ON N6G 2M1, Canada; jane.s.thornton{at}

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Physical Activity is a ‘best buy’ for public health: especially for our youth

Physical inactivity is one of the biggest public health threats of this century and greatly increases the risk of non-communicable diseases. This is especially true for our children and youth, where fallout from current pandemic lockdowns has disrupted access to physical activity and sport. Virtual classrooms translated into forfeited recess and free play while kids were thrown in front of computer screens and confined to a sedentary lifestyle. In large urban centres with many living in high rises, lockdowns on playgrounds and parks removed options for running or playing. Prior to the pandemic, physical inactivity was already a critical issue—a WHO survey of 1.6 million participants in 146 countries revealed that 81% of children and adolescents aged 11–17 were not active enough for optimal health.1

In response, WHO created the global action plan on physical activity, a call to action for policy change and effective implementation, where school-based policy initiatives are an essential component to create a more active society.2

Big challenges demand innovative solutions

In a …

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  • Twitter @janesthornton, @ProfJiriDvorak

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. Reference 3 has been updated.

  • Contributors JST and IA composed the initial draft. All authors contributed to further content development, writing and final approval of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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