The partners of the BIIPA- Body Image In Physical Activity met for the first time on Saturday 17th December in Bäckaskog Castle outside Kristianstad, Sweden to plan the course that the project has promised to deliver. The project is a KA220-HED – Cooperation partnerships in higher education- project number 2022-SEO1-KA220-HED-000088261.
We will deliver:
1. a 15.0 ECTS, 450-hour long curriculum for self-paced or facilitated delivery to students in health and sport-related degrees and
2. a 7.5 ECTS, 225 hour -long curriculum for self-paced or facilitated delivery to students in health and sport-related degrees.
The partners in the project are:
Kristianstad University, Paderborn University, University of Porto, Lithuanian Sports University, Neapolis University in Cyprus and Triskelion Norway
Participation in physical activity and sport has a positive impact on physical and mental health outcomes, and enhanced belonging and inclusion. However, nearly half (46%) of Europeans never exercise or play sport, and that proportion has increased gradually since 2009. Presently, in Europe, 59% of adults are overweight, and of those, 23% are obese, and for children aged 6 to 9 years, the prevalence of overweight (including obesity) was 29% in boys and 27% in girls, which may be a cause for health concerns. Many young people avoid physical activity because they are afraid of judgement and because they have a negative body image, which is associated with lower physical activity and sport participation. Body image is such an influential component and yet 61% of adults and 66% of children report feeling negative or very negative about their body, most of the time. Furthermore, body dissatisfaction is associated with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Research suggests that people with higher body satisfaction engage in more physical activity, and that physical activity can have a positive impact on improving body image if special pedagogical and psychological requirements are respected. However, not all young people have access to inclusive and welcoming physical activity and sport environments.
Given the strong connection between physical activity and body image, and the dual role of these targets in reducing mental health issues and weight concerns, it is important that health and physical education professionals are appropriately trained to be able to promote and facilitate inclusive physical activity environments and programs that help to build positive thoughts and feelings about the body, welcome diversity, and overcome barriers to participation.