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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


7. Health and Well-Being

7.3 Sport, youth fitness and physical activity

On this page
  1. National strategy(ies)
  2. Promoting and supporting sport and physical activity among young people
  3. Physical education in schools
  4. Collaboration and partnerships

National strategy(ies)


Sport XXI. National Sport Strategy

In 2007 an extensive policy document was prepared within the framework of the Sport XXI. National Sport Strategy (Sport XXI. Nemzeti Sportstratégia), which sets the short and long-term strategies of every aspect of the sport in Hungary. It regards sport as a tool for achieving the most critical social objectives:

  • health maintenance
  • upbringing
  • personality development
  • community building
  • social integration.

The target group of the strategy was all Hungarian citizens; however, in parts concerning youth, it is suggested that in order to achieve a sporting lifestyle, young people must get active. In this way, with the development of life-leading and problem-solving skills, they can get support to deal with the challenges of the 'accelerated world'.

The strategy was planned for the 2007-2020 period, in close co-operation with the State Secretariat Responsible for Public Education (Köznevelésért Felelős Államtitkárság).

The most recent measure within the framework of the Sport XXI. programme (Sport XXI. Nemzeti Sportstratégia) involves children between 6 and 14/15 years old in regular physical training. It provides a wide base of selection for the Heracles-programmes (Héraklész-programok), which contribute to the preparation and competition of youth between 14-23 years-old in 20 branches of sports by providing financial resources and well-educated professionals.

Heracles Champion Programme

As the first element of the new recruit-training strategy, the Heracles Champion Programme (Héraklész Bajnokprogram) has begun in 2001 with 13 sports. Currently, it comprises 20 Olympic sports:

  1. table tennis
  2. athletics
  3. wrestling
  4. rowing
  5. ice hockey
  6. judo
  7. kayak-canoe
  8. Handball
  9. basketball
  10. boxing
  11. pentathlon
  12. Volleyball
  13. shooting
  14. weightlifting
  15. tennis
  16. women’s and men’s gymnastics
  17. triathlon
  18. swimming
  19. fencing
  20. water polo.

The objective of the Champion Programme is to train competitors who reach the age group’s international standards by young adult age. This can be realised most effectively between the ages of 14 and 18 years. For achieving this goal, the highest priority of the programme is ensuring regular, continuous training. Accordingly, the project helps at the beginning stage of the efficient, long-term career of the most talented 14-18-year-old sportsmen and sportswomen. It is realised mainly by providing regular training camps and framework training, employing trainers to control the programme full-time and to offer scientific measurements and examinations.

Tünde Szabó, the secretary responsible for sports, pays extra attention to the programme. According to her statement (nyilatkozat):

'the Heracles has a favourable influence on the proportion of the local, club and central training since it co-ordinates the participation of the young sportsmen in central training camps and selected framework training. We can say that 74 per cent of the sportsmen participating in last year’s Olympics in Rio and almost every sportsman of the July Water World Championship in Hungary was from the Heracles. Still, a significant part of our adult selected sportsmen also took part in some of the recruit-programmes.'


'Healthy Hungary 2014-2020' government programme ('Egészséges Magyarország 2014-2020' kormányprogram)

The programme defines young people as a priority target group. The willingness of youth for pursuing in sports activities should be increased, the training and active lifestyle should be advanced, and also encouraging environment for the healthy growth of the future’s generation should be developed. The actions of the complex program for the prevention of circulatory diseases [Government Decision No. 1234/2017. (IV 28) on the National Health Strategy’s plans for 2017-2018’s (1234/2017. (IV. 28.) Korm. határozat a Nemzeti Népegészségügyi Stratégiához kapcsolódó egészségügyi ágazati szakpolitikai program 2017. és 2018. évre vonatkozó intézkedései I. üteméről)] also include health promotion programmes for young people such as joyful exercise, healthy nutrition and prevention of smoking. (We discuss it in more detail in sub-chapter 7.4 Healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition.)


Promoting and supporting sport and physical activity among young people


Besides schools and sports clubs, numerous programmes exist to:

  1. promote regular exercise
  2. help children and adults to choose sports
  3. integrate sports into young people’s everyday life.

The aim is to support competitive and leisure sports and the spreading of healthy lifestyles.

The 'Great Sports Selector'

The 'Great Sports Selector' (Nagy Sportágválasztó) was held for the 21st time in 2017. Besides endearing sport, it is aimed to help both children and adults choosing their suitable sport. The point of the event is that the guests should not only watch sports shows but actively participate in them, take the equipment in their hands, try the sport, and experience the nature and feeling of different sports. More than 100 sports have been represented at these events in the past years.

The Challenge Day

The Challenge Day (Kihívás Napja), which started in Canada in 1982, has been held in Hungary since 1991. The event is co-ordinated by the Hungarian Leisure Sports Alliance [Magyar Szabadidősport Szövetség (MSZSZ)], and up until now a total of 1596 settlements have participated in the competitions in Hungary. In 2016 the residents of the participant villages and cities completed more than 3 million 15-minute exercises.

European Sports Week

Since 2015 Hungary also takes part in the European Week of Sport (Európai Sporthét) organised by the European Council (Európai Bizottság). Hungary has been an outstandingly active participant of the project in the last two years, even by European standards. The national tasks concerning the co-ordination are taken care of by the Hungarian Leisure Sports Alliance (Magyar Szabadidősport Szövetség).

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) organised events in Hungary in 2019/2020 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). 

The MDSZ also launched a social media campaign during spring - 'Move at home' (Mozogj otthon) - which aim was to ensure youth to move at least 60 minutes a day at home in the pandemic situation.


Physical education in schools


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), insists on 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 everyday exercise for every child in the country.

The law states that on school days when there is general or technical theoretical education, the school must organise everyday physical education in the form of at least one PE class per day. A maximum of two classes per week out of this can be replaced by educational conditions determined by the directions of the curriculum concerning physical education classes, literacy education, sport carried out in the school sports circle. Two classes can also be replaced by exercises organised in the framework of the sports club. It is realised by the application of the students who are involved in competitive sports and are certified members of sports clubs or have amateur sports contracts, who possesses the start licence and the certification of their sports club, valid for the school year.  (Act CXC of 2011 on National Public Education)


Collaboration and partnerships


Many schools sign a cooperative agreement with different clubs. These are local initiatives, usually realised with the help of local governments.

Annual development framework

The call of the Government of Hungary to civil organisations, churches and consortiums of financial organs, based on the annual development framework stated 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.  

Co-operation in the Carpathian Basin

The aim of the call 'Strengthening the thematic co-operation 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 borderline’s region
  • to lower social inequalities by sharing good practices
  • strengthening co-operation 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

Another framework for co-operation is provided by 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]. 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, direction and in a modern, safe infrastructural environment.

Hungarian Sports Stars’ Scholarship

To cooperate with higher education institutions, the government founded the Hungarian Sports Stars’ Scholarship (Magyar Sportcsillagok Ösztöndíja). Its aim is to support those sports students studying in higher education and have outstanding results with a chance to be European Champion, World Champion or Olympic medals during their studies. The monthly support is between 120 and 140 thousand Forints (between EUR 390 and 775). It helps sportsmen and sportswomen achieve a higher level of education during their active competitor years. In the 2016/2017 school year, sportsmen and parasports men from almost 20 branches of sport won the scholarship:

  1. 135 the first
  2. 97 in the second semester.