© Getty Images

With the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 organised in the country in June/July, discussions on the legacy of the event started as early as end of 2010 with both the Mexican Football Association (FMF) and the Ministry of Health. After first official meetings during the event, F-MARC travelled to Mexico in September to engage with all stakeholders and set up a plan for the gradual implementation of the ‘11 for Health’ programme in Mexico.

As the disease profile in Mexico differs from the one encountered in Africa, for which the programme was originally developed, some changes in the messages were discussed to focus on the major problems such as overweight issues/obesity and drug abuse. Four regions of the country were identified as the starting points: Mexico City, Pachuca, Puebla and Toluca

With growing experience in several countries in Africa, certain patterns of implementation had proven successful and were now to be tested in a different setting. Two courses are planned in January 2012 for forty-three physical exercise teachers and twenty FMF coaches. The implementation will start about a month later in a total of 32 secondary schools in four different regions, involving altogether about 1720 boys and girls.

As in all countries, the effect of the programme on the health knowledge of children will be assessed by a questionnaire completed by them prior to and after the eleven weeks of learning.