Coach to the stars encourages schoolchildren to exercise more


Paul Van Den Bosch, the coach who took Sven Nys to the world top of cyclo-cross, has been asked to develop a programme to get Flemish students moving

One in five overweight

By the new school year, Flemish education minister Hilde Crevits wants to implement a project that encourages children to exercise more. Paul Van Den Bosch, who has worked with top athletes like triathlete Marc Herremans, cyclo-cross world champion Sven Nys and pro cyclist Tim Wellens, will assist the education department in the outlining of the project.

Van den Bosch (pictured) has been a physical education (PE) teacher for 38 years. “One in five children is overweight and is not moving enough,” he said. “Sitting is the new smoking: More people are dying now due to a lack of movement than from the effects of smoking.”

Van den Bosch recommends that education staff get more out of the two hours of PE offered to Flanders’ 1.1 million schoolkids per week. “Children are sitting still most of the time during these lessons,” he told Goed Gevoel magazine, giving the example of learning volleyball or how to throw a javelin. “You can’t teach these skills in two hours a week anyway, and the kids stand around most of the time waiting for their turn. It would be better to go for a long run, which is more efficient and has a much greater effect on their health.”

Photo courtesy Paul Van Den Bosch / Facebook