President Dr. Uri Schaefer Delivers Keynote Address on Promoting Holistic, Sustainable Physical Education and Physical Activity for Children & Youth

07/03/2024 10:21

At the 3rd BRICSCESS Conference 2024 in Delhi NCR, India, Dr. Uri Schaefer, President of the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE), delivered a compelling keynote address. He underscored the critical importance of promoting holistic, sustainable physical education and physical activity for children and youth worldwide. The address aimed to shed light on the global impacts of physical inactivity, offer insights into the reasons behind teenage physical inactivity, and provide actionable recommendations for fostering a culture of physical activity. 


Global Impacts of Physical Inactivity on Non-Communicable Diseases and Healthcare Costs

Dr. Schaefer highlighted the alarming global impacts of physical inactivity on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and healthcare costs. By 2030, it is projected that nearly 500 million new cases of preventable NCDs will emerge globally, with annual healthcare costs soaring to $47.6 billion. Particularly concerning is the disproportionate burden borne by low to middle-income countries, where 74% of new NCD cases are expected to occur. These staggering statistics underscore the urgent need for concerted efforts to combat physical inactivity and its associated health repercussions. 


Reasons for Teenage Physical Inactivity

Addressing the complex issue of teenage physical inactivity, Dr. Schaefer outlined several contributing factors. These include excessive screen time, lack of motivation, busy schedules, the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial constraints related to sports infrastructure and equipment, limited access to playing areas, and health concerns. By identifying these barriers, Dr. Schaefer aimed to lay the groundwork for targeted interventions to increase physical activity among adolescents and improve their overall well-being. 


Recommendations for Promoting Physical Activity

Dr. Schaefer's address also provided valuable recommendations for harnessing the collective efforts of parents, teachers, Coaches, and policymakers in promoting physical activity. Emphasizing the pivotal role of quality physical education (QPE), he called for a cultural shift to prioritize physical activity within educational settings. By integrating evidence-based practices and policy guidelines, such as the WHO Guidelines on Physical Activity, MINEPS VI recommendation, educational institutions can bridge the gap between physical education and physical activity, thereby fostering a lifelong commitment to active living among children and youth. 


ICSSPE's Initiatives and Contributions

Furthermore, Dr. Schaefer highlighted ICSSPE's ongoing initiatives aimed at promoting physical activity and sport at the grassroots level. These efforts include integrating research to enhance physical activity interventions, providing evidence-based advice and policy recommendations, and facilitating capacity-building workshops and conferences. Notably, he highlighted the collaborative efforts of young grassroots leaders from Namibia, Zambia, and South Africa, who developed a comprehensive toolkit to empower communities to leverage the power of sport for promoting physical activity and well-being as well as highlighting ICSSPE's Erasmus+ research projects outcomes: SPIRIT and PEAK


In conclusion, Dr. Uri Schaefer's keynote address serves as a clarion call to action for stakeholders worldwide to prioritize holistic, sustainable approaches to physical education and physical activity for children and youth. By addressing the underlying barriers to physical activity, fostering a culture of active living, and leveraging evidence-based interventions, we can collectively pave the way for a healthier, more vibrant future generation.