The project “What we eat” arises from the need, identified by social services of the Aveiro City Hall, to intervene at the level of eating habits in children, sensitizing them to the importance of healthy practices in their development as human beings.
A report from the Portuguese Ministry of Health released in 2006 stated that programs promoting healthy eating and physical activity so as to prevent diseases are key instruments to meet development goals.
- Who: Universidade de Aveiro; Aveiro City Hall; School of Santiago and Griné
- When: September 2010 > June 2011
- Where: Aveiro, Portugal
This project aimed to involve the local community and local businesses with the purposes to: inform the local community about nutrition related issues; give a boost to local businesses and improve visibility for local fresh goods’ points of sale; promote the acquisition of healthy foods; promote a change in bad eating behaviours; A team of experts in the elds of Nutrition, Psychology and Public Health was assembled, in order for it to guide the kit’s construction and the design of the service.
The design of the system was the most participated part of the project, as it demanded the intervention of most of the entities involved.
Interact with the community Changes in eating behaviours were effective and their knowledge of the requirements for a healthy daily life were greatly enhanced but, to achieve a sustainable change, is compel- ling could prove to be a highly effective way of countering the problem of childhood obesity rooted in bad eating habits and lack of knowledge on the benefits of a healthy food diet.
Playfulness approach The psychologist suggested the use of positive references, instead of negative ones, and the mascots were illustrated as “little monsters” that “love to learn how to be healthy”. This hero takes care of the other little monsters and also the children, teaching them the tricks of a healthy, helping them to change their behaviour.
Motivation for change It must be highlighted that if the goal is to motivate families to change their eating habits, there have to be mechanisms in place to support the less well equipped and more vulnerable ones in this endeavour.
In tandem with this growing community involvement, and considering some of the case studies analysed, children’s exposure to the reality of growing their own fresh vegetables and preparing their own healthy meals appears to be a winning bet, both in educational and emotional terms. As such, it would be very inter- esting to invest further in introducing cooking lessons and urban vegetable gardens.
Beneficiaries & Stakeholders:
UA 2 teachers +1 MA student; CMA 1 councillor + 2 technicians;
Nutritionists 1 first phase + 2 second phase; Psychologists 1; Health + doctors + nurses + delegates; Education + teachers + monitors