In order to improve the eating and exercise habits of the young, the Education Institute in partnership with the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), the Ljubljana Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Sport, the Jozef Stefan Institute, the Maribor Faculty of Health Sciences and the Jesenice Faculty of Health sciences initiated "Enjoy in Health" project, financed by the Norway Financial Mechanism. Health centres, municipalities and 48 educational institutions are also included into the pilot project.
Irena Simčič, the head of the project at the Education Institute, explained that despite the fact that Slovenia has set up and organised an exemplary system of school nutrition, and systematic physical education, and introduced systematic prevention medical examinations, obesity among children and youth continues to rise, therefore the focus of the project is on nutritional education and increase in physical activity of the young. They are testing two new approaches. In 29 educational institutions one model is being tested, with an emphasize on education, and in 19 educational institutions a different model is being tested, into which the so-called communal approach is included.
Education, and comprehensive help
Within the 29 educational institutions they would like to improve dietary habits by offering adequate didactic contents. Among other things, they have also prepared sets of didactic cards with food groups, and freely accessible e-teaching units, Simčič explained. In the second group of 19 educational institutions they are testing the joint efficiency of all the participants – schools, health centres, and local communities. In the end the estimation will be made which of the two approaches gives suitable solutions in separate environments.
Rise in obesity and over-nourishment
According to Gregor Jurak from the Faculty of Sport, since 1993 when the sports chart were systematically introduced, we are regretfully facing the increase of over-nourishment by 112%, and the increase in obesity by 44%. However, medium and short-term trends are showing an improvement, also thanks to the introduction of the Healthy Lifestyle project in some Slovenian schools, he explained, as obesity and over-nourishment are in decline, as well as the number of physically inefficient children, and absenteeism of children due to illness.
Andrej Čebokli; Translated by G. K.