7.3 Sport, youth fitness and physical activity
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'Healthy Hungary 2021-2027' Healthcare Sectoral Strategy ('Egészséges Magyarország 2021-2027')
The new programme, the 'Healthy Hungary 2021-2027' Healthcare Sectoral Strategy ('Egészséges Magyarország 2021-2027' Egészségügyi Ágazati Stratégia), defines young people as a priority target group. It aims to increase the willingness of youth to participate in sports, to promote training and an active lifestyle, and to create an encouraging environment for the future generation to grow up healthy. The achievement of 6 sub-objectives serves to achieve a comprehensive sectoral goal;
- a healthy start in life and the protection of children's health;
- promoting a healthy lifestyles, reducing health risks, promoting health;
- reduction of chronic diseases, preventive services;
- protection against epidemics and environmental damage;
- improving the health of the disadvantaged, reducing health inequalities;
- strengthening the public health system.
Sport XXI. National Sport Strategy
In 2007, a comprehensive policy document was produced as part of the Sport XXI. National Sport Strategy (Sport XXI. Nemzeti Sportstratégia), which sets out the short and long-term strategies for every aspect of the sport in Hungary. It conciders sport as a tool for achieving the most critical social objectives:
- preservation of health,
- development of personality,
- community building,
- social integration.
The target group of the strategy is all Hungarian citizens. However, in the parts concerning youth, it is suggested that young people need to become active in order to achieve a sporting lifestyle. In this way, they can receive support in coping with the challenges of the 'accelerated world' through the development of lifestyle and problem-solving skills.
The strategy was planned for the 2007-2020 period, in close cooperation with the State Secretariat Responsible for Public Education (Köznevelésért Felelős Államtitkárság).
The latest measure in the Sport XXI. programme (Sport XXI. Nemzeti Sportstratégia) involves children between the ages of 6 and 14/15 in regular physical training. It provides a broad selection base for the Heracles-programmes (Héraklész-programok), which contribute to the preparation and competition of young people aged 14-23 in 20 sports by providing funding and well-trained professionals.
Heracles Champion Programme
The Heracles Champion Programme (Héraklész Bajnokprogram) was launched in 2001 as the first element of the new recruitment and training strategy with 13 sports. Currently, it includes 20 Olympic sports.
The aim of the Champion Programme is to train competitors to reach the international age group standards by young adulthood. This can be most effectively achieved between the ages of 14 and 18. To achieve this goal, ensuring regular, continuous training is a top priority for the programme. Accordingly, the project helps in the initial phase of the efficient, long-term career of the most talented 14-18-year-old athletes. This is done mainly through regular training camps and frame trainings, by employing coaches who monitor the programme full-time and offer scientific measurements and examinations.
The Secretary Responsible for Sports, pays special attention to the programme. According to her statement (nyilatkozat) in 2017:
'Heracles has a favourable impact on the ratio of local, club and central training, as it coordinates the participation of young athletes in central training camps and selected framework trainings. We can say that 74 per cent of the athletes who participated in last year's Olympic Games in Rio and almost all of the athletes in the World Water Championships in Hungary in July came from the Heracles. Nevertheless, a significant number of our adult selection athletes have also participated in some of the recruitment programmes.'
In addition to schools and sports clubs, there are numerous programmes to:
- promote regular physical activity,
- help children and adults choose sports,
- integrate sport into young people’s everyday life.
The aim is to support competitive and leisure sports and the spread of healthy lifestyles.
The 'Great Sports Selector'
The 'Great Sports Selector' (Nagy Sportágválasztó) took place for the 21st time in 2017. There was a few years when it was not held because of the pandemic but in 2021 it was organised again. It aims to help children and adults find the right sport. The purpose of the event is for guests not only to watch sports shows, but to actively participate, pick up the equipment, try out the sport and experience the nature and feel of the different sports. At each event, more than 100 sports have been represented and in 2021 Olympic athletes were also invited ('Olimpikonokkal várja idén a látogatókat a Nagy Sportágválasztó').
The Challenge Day
The Challenge Day (Kihívás Napja), which was launched in Canada in 1982, has also been held in Hungary since 1991. The event is coordinated by the Hungarian Leisure Sports Alliance (Magyar Szabadidősport Szövetség), and up until now a total of 1596 settlements have participated in the competitions in Hungary. For 2021, from the start, the residents of the participant villages and cities completed more than 3.3 million 15-minute exercises.
European Sports Week
Since 2015 Hungary has also participated in the European Week of Sport (Európai Sporthét) organised by the European Council. Hungary has been an exceptionally active participant in the project over the last two years, even by European standards. The Hungarian Leisure Sports Alliance (Magyar Szabadidősport Szövetség) takes care of the national coordination tasks.
The programmes of the Hungarian School Sport Federation
In the framework of the European School Sports Day (Európai Diáksport Nap) the Hungarian School Sport Federation [(Magyar Diáksport Szövetség) MDSZ] organised events in Hungary in the last years, to raise awareness of the initiative, as well as regular exercise and healthy eating (water and fruit consumption). In 2019 one thousand three hundred six schools registered for the event and 450 000 students participated (részvétel).
With the aim of contributing to a healthier society, the Act CXC of 2011 on National Public Education (2011. évi CXC. törvény a nemzeti köznevelésről), emphasises the importance of organising PE classes and other sporting programmes in schools. The aim of the five PE classes per week, introduced by the law, is to provide daily exercise for every child in the country.
The law states that the school must organise daily physical education in the form of at least one PE hour per day on school days when general or specialised theoretical classes are held. Of this, a maximum of two hours per week can be replaced by pedagogical conditions determined by the curriculum requirements for physical education, literacy and sports in the school sports circle. Two classes can also be replaced by exercises organised within the framework of the sports club. This is done at the request of pupils who participate in competitive sports and are certified members of sports clubs or have an amateur sports contract, who have a starting licence valid for the school year and certification from their sports club. (Act CXC of 2011 on National Public Education)
Many schools enter into a collaboration agreement with various clubs. These are local initiatives, usually implemented with the help of local authorities.
Annual development framework
The call of the Hungarian Government to civil organisations, churches and consortiums of financial bodies, based on the annual development framework which is set out in the Government Decision no. 1037/2016. (II.9) [1037/2016. (II.9.) számú Kormányhatározat], is in the interest of
- strengthening personal and collective responsibility
- development of citizens' health consciousness
- maintenance of mental and physical health
- social development
- the realisation of youth and sports programmes
- strengthening cultural co-operation
- improvements concerning family issues.
Cooperation in the Carpathian Basin
The aim of the call 'Strengthening thematic cooperation in the fields of youth issues, healthcare, community development and social development with the neighbouring countries in the Carpathian Basin' ('A Tematikus együttműködés erősítése az ifjúságügy, egészségügy, közösségfejlesztés és társadalmi felzárkózás terén a Kárpát-medence szomszédos országaival') is to:
- support the development of the Carpathian Basin and the border region,
- reduce social inequalities through the exchange of good practises,
- strengthen cooperation and solving economic and social problems in the fields of healthcare, sports and youth policies, culture, social development and family issues.
National Competitive Sports and Recruit-training Education Centres
The National Competitive Sports and Recruit-training Education Centres (Nemzeti Élsport és Utánpótlás-nevelési Képzési Központok) whose existence is based on Government Decision no. 1868/2016. (XII. 28) [1868/2016. (XII. 28.) Korm. határozat] provides another framework for cooperation. These Centres form an academic system that provides an opportunity for young sportsmen and sportswomen to train both mentally and physically under higher level professional supervision, guideance and in a modern, safe infrastructural environment.
Hungarian Sports Stars' Scholarship
In order to work with universities, the Government has launched the Hungarian Sports Stars' Scholarship (Magyar Sportcsillagok Ösztöndíj). The aim is to support sports students who are studying at a university and have outstanding results and the chance to become European champions, world champions or Olympic champions during their studies. The monthly support ranges from HUF 120-140 thousands (about EUR 310-360). It helps athletes achieve a higher level of education during their active competitive years. In the 2019/2020 school year, 109 athletes and para-athletes from almost 20 sports received the scholarship in the first semester.