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18/11/2020

Youth Health Community issues call to action in webinar: "Give the lifestyle and wellbeing of our children the highest priority"



On 18 November, ISCA Secretary General Jacob Schouenborg joined UNICEF Nutrition Specialist Jo Jewell, Silvia Bucur from the PRAIS Foundation and Grace O'Malley from the European Association for the Study of Obesity in a 'Panel discussion on the impact of Covid-19 measures on the lifestyle of our children' in the Youth Health Community's (YHC) webinar of the same title. The webinar ended in a call to action for governments and decision-makers to prioritise children's health and wellbeing as countries rebuild after the pandemic.

 

The Youth Health Community (YHC) said at the webinar it believes that every child has the right to grow up healthy and therefore urges governments, politicians and other stakeholders to give the highest priority to the impact of the COVID-19 measures on the lifestyle and well-being of our children and young people.

 

The call to action was endorsed by YHC members in Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Lebanon, Romania and The Netherlands and speakers Jacob Schouenborg from ISCA, Grace O’Malley and Silvia Bucur also supported the message during the webinar.

 

The Call to Action Statement is published here, and these are statements collected by YHC from key stakeholders.




Impact observed by professionals

“Since the corona crisis healthcare professionals have observed that it has become more difficult for everyone

to live a healthy life. Both in terms of nutrition, exercise, sleep and mental health. For the most vulnerable, this

is the most complicated. More than ever we need to unite and come up with solutions that contribute to the

well-being of those people in general and children in particular. It would – among other things - help if the food

environment accelerated to become healthier through, for example, price measures, product improvement

requirements and the banning of fast food," says Karen den Hertog (Amsterdam Healthy Weight Approach).

 

Taking appropriate action

“For months we have spoken about the negative impact and the restrictions. Now it is time that we start to

emphasise what is possible and take appropriate action by implementing community solutions, as that is where

our children live their lives. A healthy youth is a healthy future, our children need our unconditional support. I

think this is the responsibility of society as a whole. That’s why we really need to join forces to prevent our

children from the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Marjon Bachra (Managing Director

Youth Health Community and JOGG) stresses.

 

The importance of a healthy lifestyle

Marjon Bachra: “This crisis once again underlines how important a healthy lifestyle is for both the younger and

older generations. In the Netherlands we conducted a review this summer, the outcome of which was that the

impact of the COVID-19 measures on children and youngsters is significant. The review showed that during the

first lockdown the intake of unhealthy food increased, physical activity decreased and screen time increased.

Studies from Italy and Finland, for example, show similar results.”

 

Exploring alternatives and solutions

Action taken at community and policy level should be inspired by positive alternatives and in response to the

negative consequences of the restrictions. For example, alternatives to restricted activities due to school and

park closures and the cancellation of team sports should be affordable and easy to integrate into home and

neighbourhood-based activities, such as walking a mile every day with your family. Another positive alternative

would be providing families with tips and resources on how to overcome their challenges in meeting their daily

health goals as a result of COVID-19.

 

The Youth Health Community invites those interested in supporting the initiative to get in touch at their homepage.

 

Adapted from the official report of the webinar by Youth Health Community


Youth Health Community Call to Action (PDF, 0.18 MB)