BIG (Bewegung als Investition in Gesundheit – Movement as an investment for health) aims at planning, implementing and evaluating physical activity-oriented health promotion among women in difficult life situations. Promoting behavioral as well as structural changes should contribute to allowing women to benefit from the multifold benefits of movement.

ISS developed the BIG approach as a local demonstration project in the city of Erlangen, in collaboration with scientific and practice partners as part of the national prevention research program of the Federal Ministry of Research between 2005-2008. In 2008, the local sports department of the city of Erlangen took over the responsibility to coordinate the BIG network to sustain sustainability of BIG Erlangen.

BIGff and BIGGERt (2008-2009/10) researched the transferability of the BIG participatory and empowering approach to other socio-cultural contexts, funded by the German Ministry of Health and the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Public Health.

2009 to 2011 the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Health funded the development of a BIG handbook for practice partners. This step-by-step manual guides partners in planning and implementing the BIG approach.

Since 2011, the BIG center of competence at ISS provides a broad range of services to interested actors from health promotion practice for implementing the BIG approach in their contexts.

In 2012, the BIG handbook was published as part of the publication series „Materials in health promotion“ by the LGL, an agency of the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Health. You can download the German language version here.

In fall 2012, the project BIG.competence started. In cooperation with the health insurance BARMER GEK and the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Health, ISS initiated a collaboration with five Bavarian municipalities that wanted to start new approaches in health promotion and integration of women with immigration background or in difficult life situations.

In 2013, Amberg-Sulzbach, Dillingen, Großostheim, Marktredwitz and Straubing started to do BIG, in close cooperation with ISS.