For more than eight years now the Polish Federation of Food Industry has been actively involved in the implementation of WHO strategy on diet, physical activity and health in Poland. The Federation is a member of National Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, established under the auspices of the National Food and Nutrition Institute in Warsaw. The Federation following the assumptions of public and private partnership that underpin Platform operational grounds and meeting the social expectations, implemented the educational programme „Keep fit!”.
The Federation partners in programme implementation included:
National Food and Nutrition Institute in Warsaw;
Mother and Child Institute in Warsaw;
Civic Educational Centre;
„Classy school” by the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.
The Programme aimed at promotion of the balanced diet principles and physical activity in the population of secondary school adolescents. Ultimately 96 schools all over Poland participated in the Programme (approx. 10 thousand children).
In the programme a modern educational technique was used in the form of project. It pertained to voluntary involvement of the teachers and students in independent creation of proprietary educational programmes. Consequently almost 100 extremely interesting and more importantly customized programmes matching students’ interests propagating physical activity and balanced diet at schools and local communities. The execution of these programmes was possible thanks to the support of the Federation that transferred to the schools a financial grant.
Programme co-ordination and funding was provided by the 10 member-companies of the Federation associated in the Nutritional Committee of the Federation.
The objective of the "Keep Fit!" Programme was to educate about permanent forging of healthy habits of the school adolescents (secondary schools) through the promotion of the principles of active lifestyle and balanced diet, based on individual responsibility and free selection of individual.
Programme underlying assumptions
In the educational area:
forging of healthy habits concerned with lifestyle and nutritional pattern.
encouragement of physical activity (both during school classes and recreational activities)
supply of up-to-date knowledge about nutritional patterns with special focus of diet diversification and balancing both in energy and nutritional terms.
In the area of individual responsibility and freedom of choice:
The school youth shall be access to nutritionally varied products such as e.g. fruits, vegetables, milk products, sweets and drinks.
The range of foodstuffs available at schools shall match the balanced diet requirements.
The consumer decisions of the youth shall be based primarily on conscious choice and individual responsibility.
With regard to teaching methodology and programme implementation method:
Programme implemented using project methodology
The project authors should be primarily students with subject matter support by the teachers and involvement of local communities i.e. parents and self-government bodies
Project shall be executed during optional classes (max. 25 hours)
Teaching materials prepared by the Federation
In all „Keep Fit!” draws the Civic Education Centre drew 220 schools of which 117 schools sent their scripts. The Project Evaluation Committee accepted 96 scripts, whereas 39 projects were rejected due to failure to meet programme criteria.
In the group of accepted scripts, based on project implementation reports submitted by the schools to Civic Education Centre, the Committee selected 10 best scripts. The schools that prepared the selected Top 10 projects were invited to the grand programme closing that was held at AGORA corporate seat on 14th June 2006. The distinguished programmes were granted sports equipment sets. The prizes were funded by the Federation.
Students ideas for educational programmes about physical activity and diet varied a great deal. It was a result of accepted work methodology. The project format enabled each team to have an individual approach to the programme implementation. The method applied fully complied with the method recommended by WHO for schools promoting health.
A major Programme element was the involvement of local community i.e. parents and self-government bodies. The Federation position is that only holistic nutritional education may bring tangible results with regard to the change of nutritional habits of the youth. The involvement of the parents in the process is vital since the parents forge nutritional habits of the child and have major impact on child’s nutritional pattern.
The Programme implemented by the Federation and the Civic Educational Centre won universal recognition of both teachers and the youth. The teaching materials prepared by the Federation were evaluated highly. The Programme was also rated positively by the educational experts and won recognition of the State Sanitary Inspection. The Chief Sanitary Inspector proposed to the Federation to implement the Programme within the framework of three-year educational programme run by the Inspection. In 2006/2007 school year the Programme and Federation materials are planned for implementation of all secondary schools in Poland. The representative of the Federation was appointed to the position of the team member of the State Sanitary Inspection dealing with development and implementation of long-term programme preventing growth of obesity in Poland .
The Programme implementation strengthened also the Federation position as the leading partner of the National Food and Nutrition Institute in the process of setting up National Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.
Follow – up and the future commitments
On the 10th of October 2006 Polish Federation of Food Industry and Chef Sanitary Inspectorate signed an agreement for implementing the “Keep fit!” programme across the whole Poland during the next 3 years. By that means, there will be five thousands of secondary schools participating in the programme.
The Polish Federation of Food Industry has prepared the following teaching materials – “the Teacher Guide” containing the examples of class scripts and student booklet. There is also a special web site – www.trzymajforme.pl which is also distributed as an offline version on the CD Rom.
On the 16th of November 2006 there took place schooling for Sanitary Inspectorate employees. Subsequently, these people will introduce the “Keep fit!” programme in voivodeships and the country districts.
In the end of November 2006 there took a place joint press conference of the Polish Federation of Food Industry and the Chef Sanitary Inspectorate, which had initiated the programme officially.