The European Region of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy presented projects promoting back health and stopping smoking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France in April.
The projects, co-funded by the Executive Agency for Health Consumers, have been developed by 23 national associations of physiotherapy under the umbrella of the region. The “Pain in the Back” project seeks to prevent back pain in school age children through the promotion of a physical exercise programme. The “Staying Clean” project seeks to help people stop smoking through physical exercise, controlling weight gain, and dealing with anxiety and other side effects that occur on stopping smoking.
The projects were presented within an exhibition entitled “Physiotherapy: moving forward health’s prevention and promotion”. The purpose of the exhibition was to show the benefits of health promotion for citizens and authorities.
“With physical activity, people not only gain health but save public money,” said David Gorría, the region’s Secretary General, “We all know that a treatment is much more expensive than prevention and it is the task of the physiotherapists to promote health, especially in this time of economic crisis.” According to Bernard Wojciechowski, the Member of the European Parliament from Poland hosting the exhibition: "It is the role of the European Parliament to promote and support our European health workforces in their efforts to help people be in good health in their work environments. It is also the role of the European Parliament to assist any organisations that are engaged in offering advice and treatment for a range of health problems to help people to make the most of their lifestyle.”
The “Pain in the Back” project highlights the fact that millions of children and teenagers go to school carrying backpacks filled with books and materials, increasing the possibility of future back pain. The average schoolchild carries more than 30 percent of his or her body weight at least once a week. The region says that prevention is the key and physical exercise is the tool to assure and improve physical and mental health in children and teenagers.
The region is also highlighting, through the “Staying Clean” project, the way physical activity contributes to achieving smoking cessation, a healthy lifestyle, and preventing people from going back to smoking.