Bone Education Resource Center International Osteoporosis Foundation
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Name of education programme
Rolling Bones

Originating organisation
The Finnish Osteoporosis Society

Marika Laaksonen
The Finnish Osteoporosis Society
Rolling Bones
Makelankatu 78-82
00610 Helsinki

Tel:+358 9 757 0110
Fax:+358 9 8684 4690

Description of the programme
In March 2000, a three-year school project called 'Rolling Bones' was established. The aim of the project is to motivate young people to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle that supports the growth of a strong skeleton. The target groups are teachers at comprehensive schools and children aged 9 to 15 years. The project is delivered mostly in physical education, home economics and health science classes, but some activities are also carried out in biology, chemistry and art classes. The messages of bone care are also suitable for promotion in the school cafeteria, through school health care and via breaks and recreational clubs. The Rolling Bones lessons take advantage of new teaching methods and techniques such as the Internet, computer games and self-oriented learning methods. The lessons include inspiring and enjoyable ways of learning, such as crossword puzzles, quizzes and planning recipes for calcium-rich Rolling Bones cocktails. The main idea of these activities is that children can learn by doing and thereby understand and enjoy the outcomes. The Rolling Bones project has its own song with a message of bone care and a dance that fits to the music. The project characters give examples and tell stories about how they take care of their bones: the teenage girl, Lulu, is a big fan of aerobics and her brother Ossi plays floorball. Osteosaurus, the thousands of years old dinosaur still has strong bones because of exercising in the sunshine and drinking lots of milk.


In September 2000, a pilot study was started in 21 schools in different parts of Finland. Teachers took part in a two-day training course and received material with model lessons and ideas for sport and activity days. The children received leaflets and other materials with information and practical examples about a bone-friendly life style. Based on the experiences gathered from the pilot schools, the project materials, lessons and other ideas will be developed and improved. New courses for teachers are running in spring 2001, and in August 2001 when about 50-60 new schools will start the project.

Is the programme still running?
Yes, until the end of 2002

Target audience
Girls aged 9-15
Boys aged 9-15

Has the programme been approved by your scientific advisory committee?

What worked well
Teachers gave a very positive feedback from the two-day course they attended before implementing the project in schools. They also felt that the teachers' manual was a big help in lesson planning and gaining knowledge about bone care. The teachers have enjoyed working as a group and have integrated teaching between several subjects such as physical education, art, home economics, health science, chemistry and biology. The Rolling Bones dance has been very popular in schools. Osteosaurus is a favourite character of both the teachers and the children. Pilot schools organised successful activity and sport days around the Rolling Bones and bone care themes. Bone care, via the Rolling Bones project, was introduced to parents at school meetings and events. The project has benefited from co-operation with several sports federations, health organisations and teachers' associations.

What didn't work well
Schools do not have extra money to spend on project material so the programme had to cover all the costs. Therefore not all the schools that applied could be taken into the project. Training could only be supplied to one teacher per school and he/she then had to share the information with other teachers. There are lots of great ideas that could not be implemented because of inadequate funding – one example is a video suitable for a young age group.

Type of information and material available
Press release
Illustrations, cartoons, graphs
Internet site (
Other: teachers' manual, T-shirt, Osteosaurus height scale, a title song available on CD


Are you willing to provide material and advice to other IOF members?
Yes, provided that funding for translation work is available.

Languages in which the material is available

Year 2000 300,000 Fmk (US$50,000)
Year 2001 350,000 Fmk (US$55,000)
Year 2002 350,000 Fmk (US$55,000)

Corporate sponsors
Not yet

Other partners
Jyväskylä University, Faculty of Physical Education, The Federation of Physical Education Teachers in Finland, The Finnish Junior Level Educators' Association, The Federation of Home Economics Teachers in Finland, The Finnish Association of School Nurses, The Finnish Association of School Principals, The Finnish Milk and Health Association, The Finnish Footbag Association, The Finnish Gymnastics and Fitness Association.

Did the programme use celebrities, role models or mentors?
The Kids is a band of three girls aged 10 to 12. They present the title song of the project, The Kids Go Rolling Bones. The project also has a dance that fits in with the music. The Rolling Bones dance is easy to learn and full of action and good impacts for the bones.

Role models give examples and tell stories about how they take care of their bones. Lulu is a 13-year old girl who likes aerobics, dancing and cooking. She is a lacto-vegetarian and very concerned about her diet. She decided to start eating milk products because she knows that growing bones need lots of calcium. Ossi is a 14-year old schoolboy who enjoys sports, especially floorball, football, footbag, skateboarding and ice hockey. He knows that ice hockey and skateboarding are dangerous sports and therefore he should wear a helmet. Osteosaurus is a thousands and thousands of years old dinosaur who still has strong bones because of drinking milk and exercising in the sunshine.

Is the programme suitable for other countries?

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