FIFA educating children through soccer


2010 FIFA soccer world cup is heading towards the quarterfinals and heat is building up.  I am sure you are waiting for your favorite team to win.  The amazing thing about soccer is the fitness of players.  You will be surprised to know that apart from players, the referees on the field have excellent fitness. 

I liked the spirit of 2010 FIFA soccer world cup, it is supporting and spreading health fitness message like WHO’s 3 Fives.  FIFA is also promoting a fitness drive called “The 11 for Health program” and the details can be found on official website of FIFA: “The 11 plus”. The program is focused on children and wants make them aware of 11 key aspects of disease prevention through football. The program is a result of FIFA’s Medical and Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC) working in collaboration with Grassroots Soccer.

The 11 for Health Program – Health Messages and Football Skills:

1: Play football regularly Football Skill = play football
2: Respect girls and women Football Skill = passing
3: Protect yourself from HIV Football Skill = heading
4: Avoid drugs and alcohol Football Skill = dribbling
5: Use treated bed nets Football Skill = shielding
6: Wash your hands Football Skill = defending
7: Drink clean water Football Skill = trapping
8: Eat...

a balanced diet Football Skill = building fitness
9: Vaccinate yourself and family Football Skill = shooting
10: Take prescribed medication Football Skill = goalkeeping
11: Fair play Football Skill = teamwork

The ’11 for Health’ program of FIFA is a simple yet very effective tool to help children improve their knowledge, attitudes and behavior towards diseases through football.  We know that the African countries are severely affected by HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB.  Also, in African countries levels of diabetes and heart disease is rising. FIFA has chosen right time and place to spread the health awareness message.

The aspect of FIFA program I liked is that each message is linked with a football action, such as heading, goalkeeping, etc. I am sure, when you were a kid you used some phrases to remember or learn concepts or terminology.  The same principle applies here; children can grasp key health messages while enjoying football.

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