OLL: Recommendations for HEIs to reduce sitting – students sit extremely much at present


Today, on 1 March, we publish the revised recommendations for higher education sport services. These require higher education institutions (HEI) to update their learning and study environments as well as operational cultures so that these support students to sit less. At present, higher education students sit so much daily that it is hazardous for their health (e.g. FSHS’ KOTT2016 survey).

‘We need a change in both the operational environment and in organizational culture. It is important that HEIs begin to systematically pay attention to promoting physical activity for all who are part of the HE community as well as in the higher education milieu as a whole. The revised recommendations for sport services provided by HEIs provide good instructions, goals and ideas both for reducing daily sitting as well as for engaging the whole of the higher education community in physical activity,’ says Helka-Liisa Hentilä, who chaired the working group on the recommendations and is also rector of education at the University of Oulu.

‘We greatly appreciate that the recommendations for higher education sport services have been updated and that this work has been facilitated by the higher education rectors’ councils Arene and Unifi. Nonetheless, we must also keep in mind that only the recommendations on their own will not help at all if they are not implemented fully. The support of the higher education leadership in implementing the recommendations is extremely important,’ underlines President Soile Koski-Aho of the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL).

‘At this time, higher education students represent almost half of all young adults in Finland. Only a third of all HE students are physically active enough with respect to their health. At the same time, students have an enormous amount of inactive sitting time daily. This is not sustainable. It is of utmost importance that not only HEIs, but also the rest of society, support the formation of a physically active lifestyle. The programme Finnish Schools on the Move should finally also be broadened to encompass higher education institutions,’ concludes Koski-Aho.

According to the vision underlying the recommendations for higher education sport services:

The higher education environment and its operational culture support and promote daily physical activity in the higher education community at all higher education institutions in Finland. All higher education institutions offer high-quality and appreciated sport services that support the promotion of sports, wellbeing and health for different user groups in the higher education community.

Read all of the recommendations for sport services at higher education institutions (2018) here (in Finnish, summary in English)

For more information, please contact:

Chair of the working group for the recommendations, Rector (Education) at the University of Oulu Helka-Liisa Hentilä, helka-liisa.hentila@oulu.fi

President of the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL), Soile Koski-Aho, soile.koski-aho(a)oll.fi, 044 7800 211

Working group secretary, Adviser in University Sports, Jussi Ansala, jussi.ansala(a)oll.fi, 044 7800 214

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