New funding for projects to help children make healthy choices


The food industry federation is supporting projects that encourage children to exercise more, while Hasselt researchers are taking part in a European study into preventing childhood obesity

A place to be active

Four projects in Flanders and three in Brussels have received money for initiatives that aim to improve children’s health and reduce obesity.

The money comes from the Fonds voor Voeding en Welzijn (Fund for Food and Wellbeing), an initiative of food industry federation Fevia managed by the King Boudewijn Foundation. It is providing up to €5,000 for each project.

The initiatives include integrating healthy snacks into sports clubs in Herselt, Antwerp province; cooking with leftover vegetables from the market in Anderlecht, Brussels; and a summer camp for children from disadvantaged families at an organic farm in Dilbeek, Flemish Brabant.

“For the Belgian food industry, the fight against illness and obesity is a priority for which we take responsibility,” said Jean Eylenbosch, president of Fevia. “As a federation, we consider it important to support local initiatives that help children make healthier choices every day.”

Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Hasselt are taking part in a four-year European project involving 31 research teams, interest groups and governments in 16 countries. The project will study the prevention and treatment of obesity in children up to the age of 12. One in five children in Belgium is overweight, with 7% classed as obese.

“All children need a place where they can be physically active every day,” said Hasselt project leader Tim Nawrot in a statement. “Good urban and village development takes this into account.”

Photo courtesy Sint-Jozefscollege