Physical inactivity is increasingly becoming a major public health concern. Consequently, there is an urgent need to develop programmes to promote active and healthy lifestyles among children and adolescents. Football, one of the most popular and practised sports in the world, has recently been tested as a strategy for promoting physical activity and the health status of children and adolescents. The findings have shown that benefits are especially evident for cardiovascular, metabolic, muscular, bone and mental health. In addition, given that football is accessible, economical, easy to play and able to offer its practitioners – regardless of gender, age, and nutritional and economic status – opportunities for fun, recreation and success, it has the potential to be an effective public health strategy for promoting active and healthy lifestyles in children and adolescents.