According to recommendations and reports from OECD and WHO, governments around the world should opt for an inclusive policy that involves the government, public and private sectors to support the promotion of active and healthy lifestyle. In Israel, the government decided back in 2011 to establish a national project for active and healthy lifestyle, which was later named “Efsharibari”, led by the ministries of health, education, and culture and sports, and in collaboration with state departments, local authorities, and many other organizations.
How do similar program around the world look like? You are invited to an Efsharibari tour around the world:
The United Kingdom has also realized that obesity, and especially in children, is a national problem and they are acting to promote an active, healthy life. The Change4Life program, run by the British National Health Service (NHS) with the support of the Ministry of Health, aims to change family life towards a more active and healthy life. The program emphasizes issues such as active family outings, switching from watching television and playing computer games to outdoor recreation, reducing consumption of less healthy foods, and encouraging balanced eating. Another important goal of the program is to curb the trend of obesity in children.
One of the means used by the program to achieve their goals is to create partnerships with leading British businesses who take part and help to promote the program’s messages among the communities in which they operate. This is achieved using posters, stickers and information packs distributed publicly. The program also organizes fun days of physical activity, sporting events and enrichment workshops.
Everything is done with a lot of British humour, a light and fun approach and in combination with entertaining content. The website is also very joyfully colorful and contains a lot of activities for children (in English) on the topic of healthy nutrition and the importance of physical activity in day-to-day life.
Netherlands: The Healthy Weight Program – Amsterdam
In 2013, one out of four to five children in Amsterdam was found to be overweight or obese. In order to cope with this issue, local authorities and Amsterdam’s Health Department started developing a long-term approach that addresses every aspect of a child’s life. Committee members passed the program unanimously and approved a significant structural budget, to run until 2033, when the first “healthy generation” will celebrate their 18th birthday.
The mission: Healthy weight for every child in Amsterdam by 2033
The vision: Shared responsibility to reach a healthy weight and making the healthy choice the easy choice
The Strategy: Healthier behavior in a healthier environment
Destinations based on timeline
2018 – Healthy weight for all children aged 0-5 in Amsterdam
2023 – Healthy weight for all children aged 0-10 in Amsterdam
2033 – Healthy weight for all young people in Amsterdam
Amsterdam does not think that it is the responsibility of parents to enable a healthy lifestyle for children, but rather as a shared responsibility of every person who plays a role in children’s’ lives. For the close circle, this means neighbors and teachers; for the more distant circle -- policy makers and the food industry. The program constantly works to build a partner coalition on which everyone focuses, and at the same, to time send the same message: Healthy behavior is normal behavior. Three simple rules of life form the basis of this program:
- Healthy food and beverages
- Physical activity
In the name of the principle of fairness and the understanding that reducing health inequalities is an important action, it was decided to prioritize groups such as:
- Children under the age of 9 months to two and a half years and their parents
- Children aged two and a half to 12
- Children ages 12 and above in risk group
- Overweight or obese children
One of the models on which the program is based is “the broad factors affecting health”. That is, program architects see it as a multidisciplinary program, crossing organizational and knowledge areas. The diagram below shows the distribution into layers / tiers. Each tier describes a different circle of influence.
Australia (Victoria) – YMCA
YMCA is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to help people be healthier, happier and more stable. In Victoria, Australia, it is understood that healthy habits are acquired at a young age, in childhood and that with a little inspiration, these children can grow up healthier and that, in the future, they will educate their children in the same manner. That is how to create a circle of health and happiness!
For years, the YMCA has had a history of bringing people together through activities. This is one of the reasons they invest in basketball, volleyball and recently in equipment for “active gamification”.
Your weight, and your child’s weight can be an excellent incentive for engaging in physical activity while spending quality time together. You can be in the gym and on the playground at the same time.
Playing brings your child joy while increasing the motivation to engage in physical activity. So – take your small coach to the playground today.
USA – Partnership for Healthier America
The Partnership for Healthier America works with the private sector on both sides of the economic equation by increasing the supply of health promotion possibilities and constructing the demand for them.
This program aspires to continue “Let’s Move!” – a comprehensive initiative launched by former First Lady Michelle Obama, dedicated to solving the obesity problem and striving for children born today to grow healthier and able to fulfill all their dreams. Since Trump's entry into the White House and the change in governance, the program was stopped (White House Website) and has continued in the partnership's outline ever since.
The guidelines of the "Let's Move" program are:
- Creating a healthy start to life for children
- Empowering parents and caregivers
- Providing schools with healthy food
- Improving access to reasonably priced healthy food
- Increasing physical activity
Nowadays, the “Healthy Partnership Program” wants to continue these activities.
How? By uniting leaders and influencers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors to create meaningful commitments and develop strategies that help ensure that every child has the opportunity to grow at a healthy weight.
The initial strategy of the program leaders was to receive an obligation from individual companies and organizations to provide healthy products and more opportunities for children to become and remain physically active throughout the day. This strategy proved to be very efficient and got obligations from more than 200 partners covering a wide variety of interested parties.
And in practice? The program received (among other things) a commitment to collaborate from the National Convenience Stores Association (NACS) – an organization capable of influencing more than 154,000 convenience stores nationwide. “Working with a retail association allows us to expand our reach and leverage our efforts with various convenience chains by providing additional tools, resources and support for their collective efforts to provide consumers with healthier options”.
The program’s ExoOpp mapping tool allows to prioritize areas of greater need by analyzing data related to poverty, obesity and disadvantaged populations and specifically by geographical area. Together with our partners, we can now use this tool to ensure that we are targeting appropriate resources and strategies for areas where our efforts can have the best impact.
These are just some of the solutions that have been successfully shaped by program leaders by working with a wide range of passionate public and private stakeholders to address the need and responsibility to create a healthy world for children and their families. From food manufacturers to luxury car manufacturers, entertainment venues, day care centers, hospitals, universities and public housing development agencies.
The method: Hard and serious work to ensure that “target audience” communities are fulfilling their commitments, through working with objective third parties to monitor the process. Publishing the follow-up findings increases motivation and inspires others to excel in the process and work together.
There is an understanding that childhood obesity is a complex problem and cannot be solved overnight. “Our progress (program leaders) is undoubtedly significant, but this path must be viewed with a broad perspective. This battle is one that must be fought tirelessly, steadily, constantly on many fronts. We have a lot more work to do”.
Program partners share the commitment to continue to fight until every child in the U.S. gets better choices and healthier opportunities.
France – Manger Bouger
The program is governed by the French Ministry of Health, and it deals exclusively with nutrition, in contrast to most programs in the world that incorporate healthy nutrition and physical activity.
Alongside a host of dietary recommendations in various settings, recipes, cooking activities and more, the program also initiated and promoted colorful nutritional notation, similar to the British “traffic light”, which allows faster selection of healthy options in the category. The notation, called Nutri-Score, consists of five levels from A to E, where A (green) represents a healthy choice, E (red) food that in Israel would be mostly defined as harmful food, and C (yellow) in the middle.