Health: Innovation Award

Keeping fit in Romania: Pietrari Local Public Library helps the community get back into shape

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Children attend keep fit classes in the library, using the Wii Fit Plus console.
Children attend keep fit classes in the library, using the Wii Fit Plus console.

Community need

In Pietrari, a village of about 3,000 people, inactive lifestyles, poor diet and lack of information about nutrition means that over 25% of people are overweight. Concerned librarians at Pietrari Local Public Library decided to help the community get back in shape.

the innovative service

Librarians are using technology to confront obesity in their community head on – and the kilos are rolling away as library users now regularly work out in the reading room. 

They launched Be Fit Not Fat in October 2012. Outreach through schools drew an enthusiastic response: 180 people attended exercise classes in the library, using Wii fitness consoles, and 43 seriously overweight teenagers and mothers joined an intensive programme. To make sure weight loss is lasting and safe, the library works closely with fitness specialists, doctors and nutritionists.

CREATIVE USE OF ICT Ms Ileana Nitu, who lost 22kg through the library’s programme

Be Fit Not Fat combines action with interaction. During physical exercise classes in the library, participants use a Wii Fit Plus console. This is a video gaming console programmed for fitness training. The console transmits a moving image of a fitness trainer to a television screen. Exercisers then create their own exercise programme by using a remote control device to manipulate the image of the trainer.

Participants in the intensive fitness and nutrition programme have created a Facebook page and a lively blog, for sharing experiences, giving encouragement and celebrating weight loss. Using library computers, they consult nutritionists in the capital city, Bucharest, many kilometres away, via the online communication tool, Skype.

MORE PUBLIC LIBRARIES SUPPORTING COMMUNITY HEALTH

Read about more innovative public library services that contribute to community health PLIP-HEALTH

I look different, feel different, and my husband and child appreciate the difference! Without Pietrari Local Public Library I would not have succeeded!
Ileana Nitu, who lost 22kg