Amsterdam striving to reduce child obesity

We are used to hearing about how, in most places in the western world, child obesity rates are rapidly rising. In Amsterdam however, these numbers are falling thanks to their healthy-weight programme for children.

Spotting the problem

Children in Amsterdam are now regularly weighed and tested for agility and balance at school. Those who are found to be overweight are then referred to a nurse who offers advice on how to be more healthy.

This includes dietary advice, joining a gym class and having regular home visits from volunteers. These volunteers even take the children to supermarkets to show them how they can swap unhealthy food for healthier alternatives. What’s more, all of this comes with no cost for the families.

Amsterdam’s long term plan

You might be surprised to hear that the council’s budget for the healthy-weight programme is less than €6m a year. This is because the programme is designed to work with existing professionals including teachers, nurses, social workers and community leaders, helping to put in place a consistent healthy lifestyle message across the whole city.

The council and health department of Amsterdam has banned junk food companies from advertising on the subway and from sponsoring sporting events. The city is also working with shops and supermarkets in the area to promote fresh food. You can find out about the long term plans for the programme here.

If you are an expat and are looking to live in a healthy city, why not give Amsterdam a try?