Build to last: sustaining long term support of a healthy lifestyle

The issue How to durably sustain your programme with limited resources

The best way to educate children on a healthy lifestyle is by integrating it into their lives. Often this is a task that does not require days or weeks, but years. However our own (human) resources are limited. How can we create impact over a long time in a cost-effective and sustainable way?

The insights Collaborate with partners that share a common social responsibility

Our own (human) resources are limited. This means we have to look outward in order to achieve our goals. We benefit from a multi-stakeholder approach that sparks voluntary contributions from partners with common social responsibilities.

For example: well trained young nutritionists (originating from our established partnerships with University Student Associations and Nutrition Professional Boards and Institutes) assist us in developing creative and new nutrition education techniques.

The solution A well designed structure and cost-effective programme

Next to smart collaborations, we took inspiration and guidance from other successful EU initiatives and pilots in order to establish a solid structure and cost effectiveness for MUN-SI. To educate children and capture their attention we make use of free access to social networks, online applications, educational games and other tools. In addition, within the overall structure we adjust the themes and activities each year to ensure the program remains relevant and interesting.

The result A reduction in the prevalence of overweight and obesitas

At the moment MUN-SI has a track record of over 10 years. Our longterm presence ensures children are educated on a healthy lifestyle not just for a week or a month, but for years. With positive results!

In a recent paper: Impact of a community-based program during a decade in schools setting on childhood obesity in Portugal: MUN-SI 2008 - 2018, findings from the municipality Oeiras show a positive behavioural change in the preference for including fruit and vegetables in breakfast (+16.0% in 2014/2015 and +11.9% in 2017/2018) and in snacks that are brought to school (+2.3% in 2015/2016). An increase in physical activity (+11% in 2010/2011 and +15% in 2018)/2019) and a reduction in the prevalence of overweight (from 35.5 % in 2008/2009 to 24.3% in 2019/2020) and obesity (from 16.7% in 2008/2009 to 6.4% in 2019/2020) during the last 10 years of the study.