REBIRTH active school

An exercise programme to promote children’s health

Children and young people don’t get enough daily exercise – and the situation is getting worse year by year. Often, families and schools are insufficiently aware of the negative impact of this on children’s physical and mental development. Whereas 50% of pre-schoolers have enough physical activity, this proportion declines dramatically – to a mere 10% – into adolescence. There is an urgent need for action here. It’s especially important to identify children whose health is seriously at risk, and motivate them to exercise.

Telomeres (the end-sequences of chromosomes) are an indicator of the cells’ regenerative potential. There is a close link between telomere length and healthy lifestyle: active sports enthusiasts have longer telomeres. Conversely, the length of telomeres may be reduced by negative factors. In a French study involving almost 800 children, those who are overweight and inactive already have markedly shorter telomeres. Our own data show that sporting activity tailored to one’s individual performance has a positive influence on telomere length.

Exercise programme

  • 60 minutes of targeted physical activity (in line with the WHO recommendation)
  • Individually tailored
  • Incorporated into, and designed to complement, lessons
  • Supervised by sports scientists and physicians at Hannover Medical School (MHH)

Aims

  • Achievement of age-appropriate physical development
  • VImproving health
  • Reducing risk factors
  • Improving academic performance
  • Enhancing quality of life
  • Integrating exercise into everyday school life to make it a lasting habit

Examinations

Physical examination:

  • Anthropometry
  • Dental/gum status

Medical history and questionnaire:

  • Psychosocial health
  • Health-related behaviour
  • Dental health
  • Susceptibility to allergies
  • Cardiovascular family history
  • Medication
  • Saliva/urine/blood