FOOD Project – health and nutrition at work
The cost to society from inadequate food habits, lifestyle and obesity is enormous. Up to 6% of health costs in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region are due to obesity in adults. In addition, there is an indirect cost due to the loss of lives, productivity and related income.
People suffering from obesity or from alinked to overweight are also more likely to be absent from work due to ill-health.
Tools for the public and restaurants
The EU-funded FOOD project addresses rising concerns of obesity in adults by promoting healthy eating habits during the working day. The project has two goals: to improve the nutritional habits of employees by raising awareness of health issues, and to improve the nutritional quality of food on offer by working with restaurants and canteens.
FOOD has successfully developed useful tools for the public, employees and restaurants by providing practical advice to help people make healthier food choices. So far over 200 000 restaurants and 170 000 companies with 4 million employees have downloaded these tools.
Health food advertising on meal vouchers and shopping lists with healthy recommendations are just two of the many tools available. Others are aimed specifically at restaurants and include a certificate for those which are part of the FOOD network and have made a commitment to apply the recommendations of the programme. There are also menu holders, placemats etc. which all display FOOD information about healthy eating.
The project was launched to the public in October 2009 with a very successful road show. The campaign kicked off with a double-decker bus travelling to all six countries initially involved – from Paris, via Brussels, Stockholm and Prague, to Milan and ending in Madrid.
During the road show seminars were organised on healthy food, nutritional advice, cooking demonstrations, measurement of body mass index, uses of overweight stimulators and quizzes and tests about healthy food.
The balanced eating campaigns were run in parallel in six countries on a common basis but messages were adapted to the lifestyle and cultural habits of each of them. FOOD was so succesful that even when the project officially ended in April 2011, 23 partners signed a new consortium agreement, taking on board Slovakia in February 2011 and Portugal in 2012, and launching a set of tools adapted to specificities of these two additional countries.
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