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More than half of the Dutch population is overweight and about 14% is obese. Figures that will only decrease if all professionals involved – from teachers, general practitioners to policy officers – work on prevention in different places at the same time. To give that collaboration a big push, the Institute for Preventive Health (i4PH) organizes the conference “Accelerating cooperation to stop overweight and obesity” on November 23, 2022.

Martine van der Mast, program director i4PH: “For years we have been focusing on public education, but the numbers kept rising. Resulting in more chronic diseases and social problems such as social inequality, high healthcare costs and less labor productivity. We now know that overweight and obesity are not just caused by lack of knowledge, but by a combination of factors, from eating habits you grow up with to the presence of sports facilities in the neighbourhood. This requires an integrated approach, and that is only possible if all the professionals involved work together. But who should collaborate with whom? And how? That is still quite difficult. That is why we are organizing this conference; to bring together professionals from different disciplines and develop an integral approach together.”  

From challenges to funding solutions

Former D66 MP and the woman behind the Healthy Lifestyle Initiative Memorandum Antje Diertens will kick off the conference with a call for shared health goals. For the rest of the morning, various scientists, such as Marielle Jambroes (Public Health team at UMC Utrecht), and experts in the field, such as surgeon Eric Hazebroek, will share the challenges they are facing.

In the afternoon, several teams work out possible solutions together. Eight groups will pitch their ideas and the participants with the best ideas will receive seed funding from i4PH for further research. This is a selection of all proposals from the seed call submitted by 21 October 2022. In the months following the conference, the teams will share their findings with conference attendees so that all professionals can benefit from their knowledge and experience.

Want to know more about the conference? Check the full program.