RCE Central Semenanjung - 2018

[Experiental Learning] Walking Football: Fat to fit for better persona (2018)
Basic Information
Title of project : 
[Experiental Learning] Walking Football: Fat to fit for better persona (2018)
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Central Semenanjung
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Dr. Haireen Abdul Hadi
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Central Semenanjung
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Friday, October 26, 2018
Additional resources: 
Medicina dello Sport 2018 September;71(3):451-60
Malaysian Education Ministry launched “One Student One Sport” policy on 9th of June 2011, to encourage well balanced students in terms of physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual well being.
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Address of focal point institution for project: 
UM Community and Sustainability Centre (UMCares),
Level 6, Research Management and Innovation Complex (RMIC),
University Malaya,
Jalan Pantai Baru,
50603, Kuala Lumpur,

Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The incidence of obesity is on the increase globally. Malaysia is growing rapidly not only towards a developed country but also into a nation with the most obese adults in South East Asia as well. The incidence and prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing in trend in Malaysia due to many risks factors such as poor food choices and portion, increasing watching time and fewer physical activities.
Children who are less active and do fewer physical or sports activities have been related to having poor fitness level and excessive weight gain.

Lifestyle changes are important factors in the management and prevention of childhood obesity. Many researchers globally have come out with various ways or methods to increase children’s’ participations in physical or sports activities. Access to structured fitness programs for obese children is still limited. As this remains as an unsolved problem; finding an interesting method that can prevent or reduce the occurrence of obesity in children would be very important.

It is a well-known fact that walking is safe, economical and the easiest type of physical activity. Benefits of walking are also similar to other forms of exercises. Walking 10,000 steps a day had been proven to have cardiovascular health benefits.

Walking football is a sport that had been proven to have good health impact. Players gain benefit from having more step counts, improve their fitness level, body composition and in the long run, may prevent obesity related complications.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
From recent studies, 30% of school children in Malaysia were found to be either overweight or obese. These children are
usually marginalized when it comes to sporting activities and this may sometime create an emotional issue including low self-esteem. The main objective of this project is to introduce walking football school children and teachers as an intervention to combat their weight issues early on in their primary school years. In line with ‘One Student One Sport’ policy set up by the Ministry of Education Malaysia to encourage all students with different health background and disabilities to take up a sporting activity, walking football was used as part of the pupils educational extra co-curriculum activity at school which, in turn had boosted their self-esteem and confidence, as they were presenting their school in sports, more focused in their studies and self-worth.

This project is easy to be implemented and sustained because it uses the existing facilities in schools and incurred no extra expenses. It is an extension to the current football designed for special conditioned pupils. All it needs are a football or a futsal ball, a play area (a futsal court or can be measured as per walking football specifications) and a teacher who understands the rules of walking football who will guide the pupils in this project.

School pupils, who fulfilled the criteria to be involved in this project and their teachers involved, were taught on the rules and regulations of this sport. Those who took part in this project had their fitness level, body weight, height and body measurements were taken before they embarked on the project and after they followed the project for three months. Their fitness levels were measured with 6–minutes- walking test.

From the pilot project in 2017, RCE Semenanjung walking football has grown larger with 16 schools involvement in Petaling Jaya in September 2018 and RCE Penang was introduced to walking football and invited to to take part in Inter-RCE walking football tournament in November 2018.
November, 2017
Stakeholders in this activity are school children, teachers and education department.
Activities were carried out at school for the teachers and school children involved to play and practice in this sporting event as part of the school curricular activities. This activity was approved as part of teachers training and service training.
1. To introduce walking football to primary school children who are overweight or obese
2. Height, body weight, body composition measurements (body fat percentage and muscle mass) pre and post walking football
3. Measurements of 6 minutes walking test, before and after the implementation of walking football for 3 months recorded in a log-book. The training sessions will be at their school field under the supervision of designated school-teachers during their schooling session.
4. The training sessions comprised of multiple short 6-a- side semi-structured games (25 mins/session) with 150 minutes session each week. This program lasts for 12 weeks period. At the end of 12 weeks, the children will participate in an inter-school walking football competition.
5. All of the participants’ body composition and fitness levels were measured within the week after the tournament
Activities and/or practices employed: 
1. Healthy male school-children between the age of 9 - 11 years old from 15 schools around Petaling Jaya were recruited for this program. Body mas index of all participants were measured and must be at least 22kg/m2.
2. All the teachers were briefed on the sport before the recruitment.
3. Each school forms 2 teams (7 students per team) and the body composition and fitness level with 6 minute walking test were measured.
4. The participants trained together for 3 months, monitored by their teachers and training times were recorded in a log-book. The training sessions will be at their school field under the supervision of designated school-teachers during their schooling session.
5. The training sessions comprised of multiple short 6-a-side semi-structured games (25 mins/session) with 150 minutes session each week. This program lasts for 12 weeks period. At the end of 12 weeks, the children will participate in an inter-school walking football competition.
6. All of the participants’ body composition and fitness levels were measured within the week after the tournament
Size of academic audience: 
Pupils: Phase 1- 96 students and Phase 2-180 students Teachers: Phase 1-16 teachers Phase 2- 30 teachers
In the phase 1 programme with 96 school children, 34 were chosen to be measured randomly. It was found that there was an improvement of body composition of participants in this programme. There was an increment in muscle mass and a non-significant reduction in body fat percentage. The mean increment of the participants
involved in the 6 minute walking test was 38.1metres. These findings were published in sports medical journal (ISI indexed)
Lessons learned: 
This project was easy to be implemented to schools with the help of the district education department and the teachers involved. The main challenges faced were:
1. Teachers were initially not motivated to be involved in this project because it was an extra workload for them
2. The participants were from ages 9 to 11 and hence were not in the same class in school. The arrangement to practice together (150 minutes per week) was a problem
3. Most schools however managed to arrange the participants to practice between 90 to 120 minutes a week as part of their weekly co-curriculum activities and class physical education session
4. There were encouraging results in the participants whereby after 3 months of their involvement in walking football, there was a reduction in body fat percentage, an increment in muscle mass and their fitness levels.
5. The teachers and parents involved also observed the participants were more alert in class and were motivated in sports and their studies.
Key messages: 
Obesity is a preventable global epidemic with numerous lifelong complications. Walking football is new in Malaysia. It is fun, safe and low impact activity with encouraging positive effects both physically and psychologically. There is an opportunity to implement walking football in all schools and other institutions to combat obesity.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
This year, RCE Central Semenanjung has extended the program to other RCEs in Malaysia.
RCE Penang participated and conducted competition at their level on 31 October 2018.
The final competition will be held at University Malaya on 17 November 2018 where
4 teams from each RCE will meet to win the grand prizes.
This project received funding support from University of Malaya through UM Community and Sustainability Centre or UMCares as the Secretariat for RCE Central Semenanjung.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon Walking Football training session.jpg (17.34 KB) Walking football training session
Image icon Walking Football.jpg (182.08 KB) Walking football competition
References and reference materials: 
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
Curriculum Development 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level