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Emirates News Agency – World Health Organization, Qatar and FIFA launch major digital health initiative for children and adolescents

DOHA, 19th November, 2022 (WAM) — On the eve of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the World Health Organization, Qatar Ministry of Public Health and FIFA are launching a new digital app designed to help increase physical activity and improve the health and well-being of millions of young people.

GenMove, Season1 is a games app that uses advanced motion tracking combined with artificial intelligence (AI) technology to give 8-15 year olds a vigorous video game experience. The games involve a range of different movements that develop different physical abilities and are suitable for children of all fitness levels.

WHO recommends all children and adolescents average 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per day, including activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least 3 times per week. Yet more than 80% of adolescents do not meet these recommendations and it is estimated that children and adolescents can spend more than 8 hours of their waking day being sedentary and inactive, a behavior associated with poor physical condition, taking weight and reduced sleep. The app is expected to boost many similar initiatives to get kids more active around the world.

“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, Director-General of WHO. “WHO is proud to launch the GenMove Season1 app today with Qatar. This kind of digital innovation can be a powerful tool to reach and get young people moving, especially children who may not be practicing not exercise regularly.

The app was launched today by Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health of Qatar, during the Walk the Talk – Health for All Challenge being held for the first time in the country. The 3 and 5 kilometer walks are organized 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 the eve of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” said Dr Hanan Al Kuwari. “We are committed to doing everything in our power to increase physical activity and improve the health of young people here in Qatar and around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has had such a harsh impact on young people – limiting physical education and school sports – so it is essential that we invest in promoting physical activity and leverage digital technologies to provide fun new ways to be active.

GenMove games are built around popular sports such as football and involve actions such as jumping, reaching and kicking to build children’s confidence and fun on the move. The games can be played indoors or outdoors and only need a mobile phone or tablet (IOS or Android) and a small space to keep the children moving.

Alisson Becker, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Health Promotion and National Goalkeeper of Brazil, said: “I love GenMove. Technology opens up the world to everyone, but sometimes it can make you sit still for too long. So, the GenMove platform helps you with that. At the same time, you can have fun with your children, or themselves, and do something healthy.

“The cost of physical inactivity to public health care systems is very high,” says Dr Fiona Bull, head of the physical activity unit at WHO. “Therefore, getting children to enjoy being active and building daily habits is key to preventing future non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, overweight and obesity, hypertension, diabetes and many cancers.”

GenMove is associated with a complementary football-themed FIFA campaign – “Bring the Moves” – which encourages youngsters to share their goal celebration moves online and generate an active youth following throughout the World Cup.