by A. Vinod
Campaign to drive home the message of a healthy lifestyle
The government, as a measure to check the declining standards of physical fitness among the people at large, will establish a special vehicle as part of its sports policy initiatives.
Named the Kerala State Physical Fitness Mission (KSPFM), it will be created under the Sports Department and principally aims at taking the message of positive effects of a physically active life among the people and thereby helping them attain and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
And to achieve this, it will design a mass campaign so as to educate the people about the ill effects of regular alcohol use, smoking, and other vices and conduct intervention programmes involving leaders of society, captains of industry, voluntary groups, and non-governmental organisations for the implementation of its various programmes. The mission will also conduct periodic reviews and supervise the working of physical fitness and health clubs in an effort to ensure that people are not exposed to the dangers of unscientific modules besides running the Total Physical Fitness Programme (TPFP) now being managed by the Kerala State Sports Council.
In order to achieve its various initiatives, the KSPFM will work in tandem with the Departments of Education, Health, and Local Self-Government.
Further, it will also institute awards at various levels so as to help people to remain motivated.
The government intervention to create such a mission, dedicated fully to physical fitness for the first time in the country, has indeed been prompted by the poor results returned by school students in the tests conducted as part of the TPFP over the last three years and predictions to the effect that a sizeable population in the State could be inflicted with either heart diseases, high blood pressure, and diabetes by 2030.
The draft policy document indicates that the KSPFM – modelled on the lines of the hugely successful State Literacy Mission – will be working out a variety of schemes aimed at different sections of society.
Already, there are plans to create a congenial environment for children studying in the lower primary section to take up regular physical activity through the ‘Play a Game, Play for Fun' scheme announced in this year's budget.
This scheme is likely to be launched on a pilot basis across select schools in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode by early February.
Besides this, the various other schemes of the KSPFM will be aimed at adolescent children, women, the elderly, and the workforce at the public and the private sector.
It will also actively promote the establishment of walking or jogging clubs across all areas in the State with the help of local sports clubs and resident welfare associations.
Government sources said the modalities of the organisational structure of the KSPFM would be worked out only when the final sports policy document was given its finishing touches.