Amsterdam healthy weight program
In The Netherlands, 12% of ten-year old is overweight. In Amsterdam, this percentage is much higher. More than 30.000 children in the city, the equivalent of 20% to 25%, suffers from overweight. Ahti works with the GGD Amsterdam and the VU University to develop pilot projects that stimulate young people to live a healthier life and make healthy choices.
The health situation
In the Netherlands, 12% of the ten-year old is overweight. In Amsterdam, this is 20% to 25%. That means that almost 30.000 Children in Amsterdam are overweight. A lower social background, where parents have a limited education and a lower income, is often the cause for this poor physical condition. Ethnicity plays a role as well. Moreover, these children often live in the same neighborhood and influence each other there and at school.
Overweight and obese children are likely to stay overweight in their adult life. They have an increased risk of developing diabetes or cardiovascular diseases and to suffer of other lifelong health issues. Given the lower social background of these children in Amsterdam, the problems might even affect their employability later in life. There is clear urgency to address this problem in the city of Amsterdam.
The purpose of the project
The ultimate purpose of the project is a healthy weight for all children in Amsterdam by 2033. To achieve this, children have to become aware of the importance of health and how to achieve this. Many actors are at stake, like the availability or easy access of unhealthy food at schools and in their neighborhood and the nutrition pattern at home. But the most important of all is to achieve a positive behavior towards health.
Wat is ahti’s role
Ahti works with the GGD Amsterdam and the VU on projects that help young people make healthier choices. Per project, partners are involved. An example is De Gezonde Coach (The Healthy Coach) in local supermarkets where high school students often go to, to grab a lunch or snacks. We train their staff, who are themselves often of a young age, to help the students make better choices for lunch. According to the sales data from the supermarkets involved, the students gradually adopted healthier food habits. This is just one of the many examples on how to combine real world data with behavioral change.
Obesity – a health problem that Amsterdam addresses
Overweight acquired at a young age can cause serious health problems later. This visualization shows the importance of the problem in Amsterdam and the correlation between weight problems and neighborhood. The map supports the city in addressing overweight of children in a focused way.