Name of the activity: Wissenshunger – Brainfood

Country/NMO: Germany (bvmd)

Program: Healthy Lifestyles & Non-Communicable Diseases

Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Campaign. Combination of education and advocacy. Campaigns create awareness in society about a certain topic (education aspect) and try to funnel this awareness into pressure on the decision makers to adapt policies accordingly (advocacy aspect).

General description:

With the growing prevalence of obesity and its accompanying NCDs, there is a ballooning relevance for innovative public health solutions addressing this ever growing health hazard. As nutritional habits are coined early on in life, we try to tackle the problem at its roots and accordingly use a peer education approach aimed at school children. By this, we hope to strengthen their intrinsic motivation to implement healthy eating behaviours and to provide them with the tools to evaluate the nutritional value of products and diets.

Focus area:

Children & healthy habits

Problem statement:

Since 1975 the worldwide prevalence of obesity has nearly tripled, as stated by the WHO.

Obesity being a major risk factor for NCDs, this development imposes an enormous challenge for health care systems worldwide: Because these health threats can no longer be sufficiently addressed by pharmaceutical treatments only, they need to be tackled on a behavioural level.

Contrary to its relevance, the field of nutrition experiences a lack of solutions for effective interventions at population level.

Target groups:

Medical students, Children, Youth

Beneficiaries:

General population, Medical students, Children, Youth

Objectives and indicators of success:

Among children and youth: Increasing the knowledge about nutrition, stressing the importance of a healthy diet and give practical input for the application of healthy eating behaviours.

Indicator: Total number of pupils reached, quantitative/qualitative impact

Among Medical Students: increasing awareness about the relevance of preventing nutrition-related diseases

Indicator: number of students attending seminars, quantitative/qualitative impact among medical students of an university

Future project: advocate for the integration of prevention and health promotion regarding nutrition-related diseases (respectively NCDs in general) into medical school curricula

Indicator: Number of universities integrating the topic into their curriculum

Methodology:

Main focus of our work is the concept of peer education targeting schoolchildren of ages 10-13 at “vulnerable” schools.Thus, we send volunteers from our local groups to schools at a regular basis to educate school classes about basic nutritional knowledge with a multitude of didactic methods like group works, practical experiments and a keynote talk. With these workshops we attempt to strengthen their intrinsic motivation to implement healthy eating behaviours and provide the tools to evaluate the nutritional value of products and diets. Hereby we focus on positive input instead of restrictive indoctrination.

Nevertheless, a healthy diet is not simply a theoretical topic but starts in the kitchen. Accordingly, our workshops also encompasses a practical part, in which we prepare a healthy whilst delicious breakfast with the pupils.

Plans for evaluation:

Conducting a survey after our workshops trying to assess if interest and knowledge increased by our input. Combination of self-reported items and questions testing knowledge about taught content. In future we plan to implement a pre-workshop survey and a follow-up survey.

Idea: Survey amongst medical students of a university before and a year after founding of a new local group.