¡Muuvit Ya! to increase physical activity in Uruguay
Health promotion and digital tools combined
University of Texas School of Public Health (UTHealth) and Tobacco Epidemic Research Center (CIET) apply Muuvit as an instrument for the health promotion programme called “¡Activate!”. It aims to prevent tobacco use and promote physical activity among 12-14 year olds in Uruguay.
Melissa Stigler, Assistant Professor at UTHealth in Austin: “¡Activate! includes a variety of intervention components, like classroom curriculum, which Muuvit will help to reinforce. In addition to incentivizing and reinforcing physical activity behavior among youth, Muuvit will educate students about Latin America and beyond, as they take a virtual journey through America, from Tierra del Fuego to Anchorage, Alaska.”
Muuvit is an engaging learning and exercising programme for the school setting. It helps teachers to integrate physical activity into various subjects taught in schools, such as arithmetic, geography, health, environment and languages. By exercising for at least 10 minutes at a time, 12-14 year old students in Uruguay clock up kilometers that are then used to go on a virtual Muuvit adventure through America. Exercise units can be collected at school or elsewhere, with the support of parents, teachers and peers. Added to the class’ account, accumulated points are finally cashed into fund the next leg of the trip of the adventure.
"It is our goal to provide teachers with a user friendly tool for teaching several subjects and to strengthen the role of health topics in the school setting", says Monika Villanen, project manager at Muuvit and continues: "Muuvit Ya! is an international adaption of our educational program for Uruguay. Based on our experience, local ownership and capable partners are key to success for this. Both UTHealth and CIET have shown strong commitment and insight from the beginning to make this work out. We are proud to be part if this!".
On top of the traditional health promotion approach, digitalization of the school setting in Uruguay provides a further opportunity, says Stigler: “Uruguay is the first and only country in the world to offer all primary and secondary school students free laptop computers with internet access, through Plan CEIBAL. Muuvit capitalizes on this technology in innovative ways that have not yet been utilized in this setting”.