The educational program “Traista cu sanatate” was designated the winner of the 1st prize in the category “Healthy Lifesyle. Cities” at EU Health Award. The award was given by the European Commission to cities that took the initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle among children. This award comes today, when we celebrate the World Obesity Day, a day addressed to the awareness of this global epidemic, and on this occasion we call on all those interested to strive to make the lives of others healthier and happier.
Pierre Delsoux, Deputy Director General Health and Food Safety Department, European Commissionsays: “I wholeheartedly congratulate you on Traista cu sanatate project, a project that I liked very much because of the traditions that are intertwined with scientific elements, resulting in an exceptional material for both students, parents and teachers. The prize is important to you, but it forces you to take this message forward and we will pay attention to how this health project will now spread in your country”.
With this award, the European Union’s health policy platform promotes good practices in these cities, NGOs, schools and kindergartens, inspiring others to repeat initiatives at local level. In this way, the prize is aligned with the third health programme that supports the identification, dissemination and implementation of good practices that improve health and quality of life in an optimal way. This award is funded by the third health programme 2014 – 2020.
The program “Traista cu sanatate. Healthy traditions for healthy children” has started from the acute need for education in the field of healthy nutrition. In the last 40 years in the world obesity and overweight have increased 10 times. In Romania the evolution of the prevalence of excess weight in the period 2012-2018 has increased alarmingly in children. Our study included about 12,000 children and found that the prevalence of obesity in 2018 compared to 2012 doubled in urban areas (from 9 to 16%) and increased 4 times in rural areas (from 3 to 12%). Here, 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese and about 50% of adults are overweight or obese.
The program “Traista cu sanatate. Healthy Traditions for Healthy Children” was launched in Iasi, in 2012. It is a community-based programme that aims to develop healthy eating and lifestyle behaviours based on local cultural traditions. The initiator of the program is Prof. Univ. Dr. Veronica Mocanu, Professor of Physiology and Food Behavior at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Grigore T. Popa” in Iasi.
Prof. Univ. Dr. Veronica Mocanu, initiator of the project “Traista cu sanatate” says: “We have worked hard over the last 8 years to draw attention to the problems related to excess weight among children in Romania, as well as to promote a healthy way of life through nutrition and sport. The prize is both a joy, but also a great commitment for us to continue the project, to arrive with the materials in as many schools in Iasi and then in the country, and to have good results in terms of decreasing the percentage of obese or overweight children and implementing a healthier lifestyle among children targeted between the ages of 5 and 10 years”.
Caesar Elisei, manager of the project “Traista cu sanatate” states: “The health-based trail is a team work both quantitative and qualitative, a demanding work, but also very satisfactory. Bringing joy and health into the lives of a few thousand children and parents is not something easy to overlook, as does the prize we have won, being practically the best project in all of Europe. This compels us to live up to this requirement indicated by the trust that the European Union has placed in us”.
Meridiane Publishing in Iaşi is the producer of educational materials “Traista with health” and the implementer of this project in schools in Iaşi.
The program “Traista cu sanatate. Healthy Traditions for Healthy Children” has been supported since the inception by Iaşi City Hall, and in 2018, the project Educating children for a healthy lifestyle based on local traditions was budgeted the amount of 64,000 lei for the implementation of this project in 20 schools in Iaşi.
The implementation of this program was carried out by the Iaşi County School Inspectorate, through the special efforts of the Inspector General Prof. Dr. Genoveva Farcaș and the Inspector for Educational Projects, Prof. Alla Apopei. The long-term success and continuation of the “Traista cu sanatate. Healthy Traditions for Healthy Children” is assured by the partnership with Nestlé for Healthier Kids, which is the sponsor of the program since 2019.