aking sure that all children are encouraged towards a healthy lifestyle.
The City of Mechelen wants to halve child poverty and improve the health situation of children in disadvantaged families. Also in Mechelen, children sometimes arrive at school with empty lunch boxes – often a sign of a problematic home diet that is poor in vitamins. Research shows the impact of healthy diets on a child’s development. The root of the problem is not always a lack of information or access to healthy foods. Symbolic and emotional values add to the dietary problem in disadvantaged families. On the other hand, Flemish research indicates that vitamin rich lunchbox food often ends up in the waste bin. Food waste and dietary imbalances need to be tackled simultaneously.
Besides food, a sedentary lifestyle aggravates children’s health conditions. Disadvantaged youths struggle to find their way to the ‘playground’, where they can play and exercise without worries. Access to the public space, to fun leisure time for sports and play or even to a qualitative basic equipment (playing clothes and gear) are often lacking. The same accounts for opportunities to invite friends our play with them outside of the house.
Food and exercise are crucial for a child’s personal growth and healthy development. Let’s come up with solutions that tackle these imbalances and allow kids from all social strata to live an equally healthy youth!