7.3 Sport, youth fitness and physical activity
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White Paper No. 19 (2018-2019) on Public Health [Folkehelsemeldinga: Gode liv i et trygt samfunn] mentions physical activity explicitly. However, the Government has initiated development of a new national action plan for physical activity with concrete measures in several social areas and arenas, such as day care, school, workplace, elderly care, transport, local environment and spots/recreation. The goal of a 10 percent reduction in physical inactivity by 2025 is being pursued, with a long-term goal 15 percent reduction in physical inactivity by 2030, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Directorate of Health has developed national guidelines on Physical activity with specific recommendations for children and adolescents. The guidelines include national recommendations, information about the evidence base for the recommendations and practical information about how the recommendations can be implemented.
One of the topics of the Government's youth health strategy #Young people health – the Norwegian Government’s strategy for young people’s health 2016 – 2021 [#Ungdomshelse – regjeringens strategi for ungdomshelse 2016-2021] is related to sports and recreation with the following goals:
- All children and adolescents should, regardless of socioeconomic bacground, have the opportunity to participate in at least one organized sports/recreational activity with others
- Limit youth sports dropouts
- Create healthy sports arenas for both girls and boys - through dietary knowledge and sports nutrition, changing attitudes to eating disorders in sports and reducing incidences of eating disorders among young athletes.
The ‘Recreation Declaration’ [Fritidserklæringen] is a collaborative effort between municipalities, the voluntary sector and top-level authorities to ensure that all children, regardless of their parents' social and financial situation, have the opportunity to participate regularly in at least one organized recreational/sports activity with other children.
As part of the declaration the previous Government initiated a ‘Recreation Card’ trial [Fritidskortet]. All children aged 6-18 in selected municipalities received a partial subsidy to cover organized recreational/sports activities. The goal was to make participation in recreational/sports activities less dependent on socio-economic background. In 2021 the new Government decided not to make the Recreational card a national scheme and the pilot in selected municipalities will thus end by 1. July 2022. The Government proposes to instead strengthen the new subsidy scheme for children and young people by NOK 50 million. With the proposal, the subsidy scheme is about NOK 555 million.
Physical education and sports are incorporated into the national curricula, is mandatory, and taught as a separate subject. Physical education is meant to ‘help pupils acquire knowledge about exercise and training, lifestyle and health, and motivate them to have an active life and continue physical training into adulthood.’ (Directorate for Teaching and Training, KRO01-04/purpose).
Teaching hours are given in 60-minute units, 223 hours in lower secondary school and 56 hours in upper secondary school for both general studies (except the programme for music dance and drama) and vocational education programmes.
Pedagogical tools and support provided to teachers responsible for physical education include the following:
The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training (Udir) provides some pedagogical tools and support through their website where acquired skills and recommended tests and approaches are reviewed.
The Norwegian National Centre for Food, Health and Physical Activity [Nasjonalt senter for mat, helse og fysisk aktivitet] is one of several national centres under The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, and The Ministry of Education and Research, and runs a resource platform dedicated to physical education and outdoor leisure activity.
The Norwegian Digital Learning Arena is a joint enterprise operating on behalf of the county councils in Norway. Its aim is to develop and publish high quality, internet-based open educational resources (OER) in subjects taught at upper secondary school level and make these freely available. The Norwegian Digital Learning Arena offers pedagogical tools and support through their platform: Nasjonal digital læringsarena – NDLA Kroppsøving.
The aforementioned ‘Recreation Declaration’ [Fritidserklæringen] is a collaborative effort between municipalities, the voluntary sector and top-level authorities to among other things promote physical activity among children and young people.