Finland has developed national programs for every phase of life-course to promote health and physical activity. Fit for Life Program (Kunnossa kaiken ikää -ohjelma in Finnish) is a national initiative funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The program is also supported by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of the Environment and National Board of Forestry (Metsähallitus). Foundation for Promotion of Physical Activity and Public Health LIKES sr. has successfully coordinated the program since 1995. Fit for Life Program aims to increase wellbeing and enhance the physical activity levels of working-age people. Program’s goal is to activate and help sedentary adults to start physically active way of life, reduce sedentary lifestyle and increase physically active commuting (walking and cycling). Cross-sectoral cooperation is a crucial principle integrated into the program and it aims to strengthen cooperation and networking between organizations operating in health enhancing physical activity.
The operational model of the Program includes seminars and campaigns, materials, mentoring and funding for physical activity projects. Today more than 4 000 local project have been implemented around the country with help of program’s funding. The goal of the local projects is to lower the threshold to become physically active by offering them opportunities for guided group exercise, starter courses in different events, fitness testing, individual fitness guidance, etc. Fit for Life Program has also carried out many well-known national campaigns targeting behavioral change, motivation and cultural susceptibility; examples include the Adventures of Joe Finn campaign, Stair Days campaign and the Journey towards Fitness. These campaigns have been efficient way to inspire citizen and different communities to pay attention to their daily physical activity and dietary choices.
Worth mentioning are the materials that Fit for Life Program has produced to health enhancing physical activity (HEPA) professionals and to sedentary target groups. Examples of the free of charge materials include; physical activity and sedentary time tracking cards, physical activity guide books for different target groups and healthy living guide books etc. The program produces also reports and guide books of best practices of the HEPA projects.