P.A.U. Education has been leading the European Commission’s consumer education project ‘We Love Eating’ that has now come to a successful close. Its key messages will continue to be shared as new cities meet the challenge of promoting healthy lifestyles among children, pregnant women and older people.
Promoting healthy lifestyles
The aim of ‘We Love Eating’ was to design and test educational material aimed at raising awareness on health problems related to poor nutrition, overweight and obesity, and at promoting healthy diets along the life cycle, from pregnancy to old age, at EU scale. The specific targets defined were pregnant women, children and older people. ‘We love eating’ took place in seven cities across Europe, sharing messages and creating local initiatives to promote healthy eating and physical activity among its three target groups, representing the full lifecycle. Children, pregnant women and the elderly are also at important life stages where good health is especially crucial. The project involved local stakeholders – such as authorities, NGOs and charities, schools, homes for older people and community and health centres – to make healthy lifestyle choices more available to all citizens.
With the close of the pilot project, each of the participating cities has held closing events to celebrate successes and share key findings. Importantly, each city was able to share the key finding that the awareness of aspects of a healthily lifestyle increased in almost all target groups. More specifically, key findings included that:
• More seniors are now eating fruit and vegetables daily or drink water more than 3 times a day. Older people believe that drinking water will have a positive effect on their health.
• Parents are more aware that their children enjoy eating healthily. Fewer young children eat vegetables less than twice a week or drink water less than once a day.
• Fewer youngsters eat fruit less than twice a week. They intend to share more meals with their family or friends.
• Pregnant women are more aware that it is good for their unborn child if they enjoy eating balanced, home-cooked meals with fruit and vegetables, and are physically active.
We Love Eating goes on
Closing events were also a great opportunity to recognise all the local community members and organisations that took part in the project. Local participation at all levels was truly at the core of the project, and surely helped to inspire new cities that are now choosing to start their own healthy lifestyle initiatives using the ‘We love eating’ methodology.
The cities of Roncq, France and Raalte, Netherlands are two examples of the project potential for sustainability and replicability. In Roncq, it’s been agreed that local collaborations and synergies formed as part of ‘We love eating’ will continue indefinitely and WLE key messages will continue to be shared and promoted in 250 cities around France.
In Raalte, local community actors are following the actions and example of pilot city Deventer, also in the Netherlands, to create initiatives that reach children, the elderly and disadvantaged groups with low socio-economic status.
We look forward to seeing how these and other cities around Europe continue to promote healthy lifestyles, and hope that they all find the process as satisfying and enjoyable as we did during We Love Eating!
Visit the website at www.we-love-eating.eu