UEFA will join forces with the World Heart Federation during UEFA Women's EURO 2013 in Sweden this summer for the Make A Healthy Heart Your Goal campaign.
The campaign encourages women and girls to lead an active lifestyle and practise sports such as football to help reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes. HRH Prince Daniel of Sweden is the official patron of the initiative, which is being fronted by Sweden and Olympique Lyonnais forward Lotta Schelin.
Karen Espelund, member of the UEFA Executive Committee and chairwoman of the UEFA Women's Football Committee, said: "Women's football is not just a skilful and dynamic game, it also has a unifying and empowering social effect. Football is the number one team sport for girls and women in Europe, and it can help combat the number one killer, heart disease. UEFA believes every girl should have the opportunity to play football locally, regardless of skill or talent, and our partnership with the World Heart Federation supports this goal."
Johanna Ralston, CEO of the World Heart Federation, said: "Football and being active can contribute to combating cardiovascular disease, the most common cause of death for women. The World Health Organization recommends doing 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week, such as playing sport. Our partnership with UEFA is a great way for us to increase awareness of the importance of physical activity."
UEFA Women's EURO 2013, the most prestigious European national team event for women, will be played in Sweden between 10 and 28 July. The campaign will peak at the semi-finals on 24 and 25 July.
There are approximately 1.2 million registered female players in Europe, making football the chief team sport for women on the continent. As European governing body, UEFA is committed to nurturing girls' and women's football in all of its 53 member national associations.
UEFA's women's football development programme (WFDP) was set up to support the extensive progress of the female game. The programme is tailor-made to fit the member associations' priorities and caters for their specific needs. The WFDP specifically aids associations previously less active in this field, in catching up with the countries with more established women's football structures.
From July 2012 to July 2016, the women's football development programme – thanks to UEFA HatTrick scheme funding – awards each association funds earmarked specially for the advancement of the female game.
UEFA also helps the associations in increasing the number of women in football leadership positions. Female representation on UEFA committees has seen a significant increase: for the 2011–15 period, UEFA has 24 female committee members, including one chair position and four vice-chair positions. This signals a rise of 71% from 2009–11.
For more information on UEFA's WFDP as well as the women's competitions, visit our women's football section.
For details about the Make A Healthy Heart Your Goal campaign, go to bit.ly/QxvmfL.
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