The new University of Tartu lab creates solutions for increasing active movement
The Faculty of Exercise and Sport Sciences was supplemented with a behavioural problem lab of recreational sports with the aim of aiding to the increase of active movement within the population.
According to Merike Kull, head of the laboratory and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Exercise and Sport Sciences, the creation of the laboratory followed directly from the society's needs: “An increasing number of surveys indicate that the movement activity of the population is insufficient. For example, we know that the daily amount of active movement of children recommended by the WHO is at least 60 minutes, but surveys show that only 14% of Estonian 11-15-year-old students are sufficiently active. This has an effect on several health indicators of children: the constant increase in the number of overweight students, the increase of risk behaviour, etc.”
The direct goal of the lab is aiding to the increase of active movement within the population and reducing the influence of insufficient physical activity as a risk factor of several health indicators, including cardiovascular problems, diabetes, obesity, etc. “In essence, we are trying to develop, evaluate and implement research-based intervention programmes of active movement in our laboratory. As Estonia hasn't so far had an institution that would be engaged in an active development and implementation of such programmes within target groups, then we wish to contribute to this area,” said Kull.
At the moment, the laboratory is developing an active movement programme for schools which would for example include different means of keeping children physically active during the school day. The programme includes movement pauses during lessons, physically active teaching methods, planning of a long physically active outdoor break, an increase in the number of physical education lessons, development of active school transportation, motivating parents for a change, ad much more.
At the moment, the laboratory has access to research equipment, such as tools registering movement activity, devices evaluating the operation of the cardiovascular system, questionnaires for the evaluation of socio-psychological aspects of movement activity and equipment for determining the contents of organism. New technical devices and methodological solutions (movement analysis based on GPS sensors) will be added in the course of the project.
The laboratory was created with the support of the University of Tartu's research activity support fund.