In our fast-paced daily lives, we tend to neglect our bodies, constantly coming across the term healthy lifestyle and its more or less credible ambassadors. For fourteen years, we at the Green Sun Association have not only been promoting, but also demonstrating to children, young people and adults, through daily programmes, why it is important to move and lead a healthy lifestyle. That is why two years ago we were delighted to be approached by Benjamin Tomažič, head of Inštitut Integrum in Slovenia, to work together on the DigiON partnership project.
Globally, the number of obese people aged 5-19 has increased tenfold in the last 40 years. According to new research, there will soon be more obese young people in the world than skinny ones. Romania has the highest proportion of overweight people, according to Eurostat statistics for 2021, with 62.9 percent of the population overweight (body mass index between 25-30) or obese (body mass index over 30). Our programmes focus on getting young people out of the panel. Our observations also show that the digital world is making it increasingly difficult for them to move, while their need for movement is fantastic. As part of the DigiON project, we have produced parent forums, surveys, interactive presentations, research and educational materials, among other things. The Green Sun Association, in collaboration with local teachers, developed the second of the five educational material on our bodies and physical activity. With this lesson, we promoted to around 200 students, in particular, the sporting opportunities and alternative means of transport available in our municipality and region. The first thing that always comes to mind when we think of alternative transport is the good old bicycle. It's fast, it doesn't pollute the environment and it's very comfortable. You can ride it fast, like a bike messenger, or slowly if you're tired, but you'll get to your destination much faster in a traffic jam than if you were in a car. Plus, you can save on the cost of the gym, as half an hour of cycling a day will certainly keep you in shape. But an equally important alternative means of transport is a scooter, skateboard or rollerblading, which can be learnt in a short time and once you know the basic techniques, such as turning and braking, you can hit the road in peace. You don't even have to worry about what happens if it rains, because it fits in a small space, so you can easily put it in your rucksack in bad weather.
With our programmes and the lesson we have prepared, we aim to raise awareness of both healthy lifestyles and health promotion, which we try to promote with a number of accompanying programmes and icebreakers. This is also very much needed because we have noticed during our programmes and field exercises that there are more and more young people who are completely urbanised. Nature and movement are so alien to them that they are not just indifferent to it, but downright averse to it: they are often panic-stricken by even the most harmless insect, disgusted by rain-soaked dirt roads, reptiles and rodents, and increasingly disdainful of agricultural work and everyday movement. In our experience, there is no direct way to change this negative attitude, as it is impossible to force young people living in a block house to think about natural phenomena with love. Therefore, only hidden, non-formal methods can be used. Constant movement must be a basic principle for young people today. Many people are frightened when they hear the term 'healthy lifestyle', because they think that it involves enormous sacrifices and renunciations, and they are certainly not capable of doing this. Raising awareness of the basics of daily exercise and healthy living needs to start with these age groups. This is a prerequisite for developing a healthy lifestyle as an adult.
For several years now, our organisation has been an active member of the Szeklerland Talent Search Council and we are registered in the database as a talent point, which enables us to pay more attention to the development of talented young people.