According to the findings of a national schools survey carried out by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), children and young people in Jyväskylä tend to lead more active lives than their peers elsewhere in Finland.

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Project Manager Jon Salminen, Capital of Sport Jyväskylä, phone +358 14 266 0880 

The survey’s findings with regard to the young respondents’ overall health and wellbeing are also showing a positive trend, with children reporting less shoulder and back pain and enjoying better sleep than previously. Despite the increased levels of physical activity, however, 7% of school-age children in Jyväskylä rated their health as either average or poor. Across Finland, the corresponding figure is 9%.

Children in Years 4 and 5 of primary school were asked whether they enjoy at least one hour of physical activity every day. The responses suggest that children in Jyväskylä lead more active lives than their peers across Finland on average. Worryingly, however, the survey also shows a decline in the total number of children enjoying at least one hour of exercise per day.

In Jyväskylä, 24% of Year 8 and Year 9 pupils have at least one hour of exercise per day. The corresponding figure for Finland as a whole is 22%. The number of young people reporting low levels of physical activity, defined as one hour or less once a week, has fallen.

The Finnish Schools on the Move programme increase physical activity during the school day

Jyväskylä is a participant in the Finnish Schools on the Move programme that’s designed to promote more positive attitudes towards physical exercise among children, and teachers are encouraged to incorporate more physical activity into their lessons.

“Here in Jyväskylä, we’ve joined the Finnish Schools on the Move programme to build more physical activity into the school day, and we’re also working closely with school nurses in this area. When our school nurses identify pupils who take limited exercise, they are able to provide them with so-called exercise vouchers. We also have personal trainers working in seven local secondary schools offering help and guidance to these pupils,” explained Jon Salminen, who runs Jyväskylä’s Capital of Sport programme.