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The following projects within the key theme 'Promoting a healthy lifestyle and development' have already been completed:


OPEN stands for Obesity Prevention through European Networks. The first phase is an analysis of insights using the Concept Mapping methodology. VUMC University Medical Center asks the 13 programmes coordinators to think about obesity prevention with a focus on how to address adolescents living in deprived areas. Experts having led recent research projects such as ENERGY, SPOTLIGHT, TEMPEST, IDEFICS, HEALTH25, where asked the same question. Then the results from the coordinators and from the scientific experts are compared.


Daniëlle van der Aa
Prof. dr. Mai Chin A Paw

Read more about the OPEN project


The ToyBox-study (Multifactorial evidence based approach using behavioural models in understanding and promoting fun, healthy food, play and policy for the prevention of obesity in early childhood) brings together a multidisciplinary team of 15 researchers from 10 countries across Europe aiming to build and evaluate a cost-effective kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention scheme to prevent obesity in early childhood, which could potentially be expanded on a pan-European scale.

Participatory School Playgrounds

The aim of this study was to explore primary schoolchildren's perspectives of their playground. Using participatory techniques and the expertise of 10-11 year old children, different environmental determinants of physical activity at playgrounds were identified. The aims of the project were to:

1) identify environmental determinants of physical activity behaviour at the playground;

2) develop a tool for evaluating the activity-friendliness of playgrounds from a child-perspective;

3) collect practical ideas for improving the activity-friendliness of playgrounds that are suggested by children.

The research was framed as a project that gives primary schoolchildren the opportunity to present their views and ideas about their playground to a self-selected audience (e.g. the school staff).

ENERGY - European energy balance research to prevent excessive weight gain among youth 

The worldwide prevalence of overweight and obesity has been steadily increasing, also among children and adolescents, and is reaching alarming epidemic proportions. Preventing excessive weight gain among schoolchildren will help to halt the increasing number of overweight adolescents and young adults, but will also improve physical health and prevent disorders, and may contribute to psychosocial well being. Overweight and obesity are the result of health behaviours related to nutrition and physical activity which result in a positive energy balance. To date most efforts to prevent obesity by promotion of energy balance-related behaviours have not been successful in reducing the prevalence of overweight. Recently, experts have recognised that a variety of energy balance-related behaviours should be jointly addressed to curb the obesity epidemic, and a carefully planned, evidence and theory-based multidisciplinary approach is necessary to accomplish this.

Surf to the ENERGY website

Dutch Obesity Intervention in Teenagers (DoIt)

Developing, evaluating and improving the school-based intervention program DOiT aiming at the prevention of obesity in adolescents, and addressing both behavioural and environmental components. The results show that our multi-component intervention, tailored to the specific needs of the adolescents, was effective in positively influencing measures of body composition and physical fitness.  


Active videogames prompt the player to be physically active to complete the game. In the Digidance project, the question was raised to what extent children were motivated to play (and keep playing) an Interactive Dance Simulation Game. What were the effects on the physical health of the children who played this game?  

RKF Playgrounds

The goal of the study is to gain insight into the effects of Richard Krajicek Playgrounds on the fitness and physical activity levels children. The Richard Krajicek Foundation places Playgrounds throughout the Netherlands. The overall goal of such playgrounds is to stimulate daily physical activity in a social safe environment, for adolescents in deprived neighborhoods where physical activity possibilities are limited.

Check out the website of Richard Krajicek Playgrounds here 

Despite the many positive health outcomes of playing sports regularly, there is also a downside: the danger of sports-related injuries. In the Netherlands, on average one a and a half million people are affected by sports-related injuries every year. It turns out that children between the age of 12 and 17 are most at risk to develop an injury through playing sports. The I-Play project aimed to evaluate an intervention programme to prevent sports-related injuries with 10-12 year old schoolchildren. To what extent is the implemention of such an intervention effective?


The prevelance of children with obesity is rising fast in the Western world, also in the Netherlands. The most important explanations for this concerning trend seem to be a lack of physical activity and and increase in sedentary leisure time activities. As the results of treating obesity are often disappointing, the focus needs to lie on prevention (preferably starting at a young age). To this end, researchers from the VU University Medical Center and de GGD Amsterdam started the JUMP-in project. Through extensive collaboration between the neighbourhood, schools and sport clubs, 4 to 12 year old children were stimulated to adopt a physically active lifestyle. 


The 'PAM' is a small instrument to measure movement, worn at the hip. It gives an indication of the daily physical activity performed by its user. The meter can be used in association with the computer program PAM Coach, which gives you a personal movement advice based on the meter readings. During the PAM project both employees and adolescents were equipped with PAM meters to evaluate its usefulness and effectiveness.