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WP1

Building a center of expertise for the physical activity of children and youth (Lasten ja Nuorten liikunnan osaamiskeskus)

There is a strong regional ambition to gather the existing expertise in connection to the physical activity of children and youth together to gain synergies in basic research and to create novel innovation partnerships. Physical activity and functioning enhances the possibilities of children and youth to participate in activities in different environments and in different roles. Along with physical health, physical activity enhances self-expression, self-confidence, resilience and social development. Physical activity is innate for every child but not everyone has equal possibilities to accomplish healthy physical activities for various reasons. Moreover, there is a serious need for research and practical knowledge as well as effective actions to promote mental health of children and adolescents. Physical activity has positive effects on several different factors that relate to mental health, one being positive effects on normal weight and prevention of obesity.

HCT partners offer living lab and test bed environments to conduct high-level, multifaceted research to study the physical, social and psychological factors related to healthy physical activities and rehabilitation for all children.

The aim is to build a center of expertise for the physical activity of children and youth, which connects the area’s actors under the same material and immaterial roof. The aim is as a network to utilize the traditional and novel (smart devices, wearables, implants, digital twin technology, haptic technology, bioimpedance technology, speech recognition, personal health records etc.) data of movement, physical activity, physical performance and physical capacity as a combination with cognitive, psychological and behavioral data to enhance healthy functioning of all children to benefit the health promotion, future prediction and rehabilitation actions.

The target for this WP is to:

1) Create a comprehensive network of experts working with children in relation to physical activities in social and health care including medical care, health care and rehabilitation in basic health care level and in specialized health care, early childhood education, education in all its levels, recreational facilities and within the families.

2) Create a comprehensive network of experts to study and evaluate data-analytic and Artificial Intelligence for the children physical activity research.

3) Explore the existing evidence of workable solutions to enhance healthy physical activities for all children

4) Create a 10-year strategy for future research and development projects to be conducted in the center of expertise for physical activity of children and youth.