Digital Health

WHO, MoPH and FIFA release digital app to improve physical activity, help get children moving

Tribune News Network


On the eve of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) of Qatar and FIFA launched a new digital app designed to help increase physical activity and improve the health and wellbeing of millions of young people.

The app was launched by Minister of Public Health HE Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari at the ‘Walk the Talk-Health for All Challenge’ being held for the first time in Qatar.

The three- and five-kilometre walks were organised to engage people of all ages and abilities, and to promote the benefits of physical activity.

“Qatar is proud to launch this important innovation for children on eve of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” said Dr Kuwari. “We are committed to doing as much as possible to increase physical activity and build the health of young people in Qatar and around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted so hard on young people, limiting physical education and school sports. So, it is vital we invest in promoting physical activity and leverage digital technologies to provide new and fun ways to be active.”

“Regular physical activity has major, lifelong benefits for physical and mental health, and is essential for the healthy development of children,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general. “Digital innovations can be powerful tools to reach young people and get them moving, especially children who might not play sports regularly. WHO is proud to launch GenMove with Qatar, and we hope it will help to get more kids involved in physical activity, which is good for every family and community.”

GenMove, Season1 is a games app that uses advanced movement tracking combined with artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide eight to 15-year-olds with a vigorous video game experience. The games call for a range of different movements that develop different physical skills and are suitable for all levels of fitness.

GenMove games are built around popular sports such as football and involve actions such as jumping, reaching and kicking to build kids’ confidence and enjoyment of moving. The games can be played inside or outside and need only a mobile phone or tablet (IOS or Android) and a small space to get children active.

Alisson Becker, WHO goodwill ambassador for Health Promotion and Brazil national goalkeeper, said: “I love GenMove. Technology opens the world for everybody, but sometimes it can make you stay seated for too much time. So, the GenMove platform helps you with that. At the same time, you can have fun with your kids, or themselves alone, and be doing something healthy.”

WHO recommends all children and adolescents get an average of 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per day, including activities that strengthen muscles and bones at least three times a week. Yet, more than 80 percent of adolescents do not meet these recommendations and it is estimated that children and adolescents can spend more than eight hours of their waking day being sedentary and inactive, a behaviour associated with poor fitness, weight gain and reduced sleep.

“The cost to the public health care systems of physical inactivity is very high,” said Dr Fiona Bull, head of the Physical Activity Unit at WHO. “Therefore, getting children to enjoy being active and build habits into every day is critical to preventing future noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, overweight and obesity, hypertension, diabetes and many cancers.”

GenMove is being teamed up with a complementary football themed FIFA campaign – ‘Bring the Moves’ – which encourages young people to share their goal-celebration moves online and generate a following of active young people throughout the World Cup.


Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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