Children become healthier when they have a healthy lunch, varied exercise and learn about healthy behavior in the classroom. This is evident from the Healthy Primary School of the Future (GBT) project. The results of the four-year study of Maastricht University were announced on Monday.
Researchers from Maastricht University compared more than 2,200 children from four project schools and four regular schools for four years. In healthy primary schools, children receive healthy meals at school and more attention is paid to exercise through sports and games.
Miss Milou of OBS Wereldwijs in Landgraaf sees her students getting fitter:
“I am particularly shocked by the large differences between healthy schools and the schools where we do nothing”, says project leader Maria Janssen. For example, we look at the waist circumference of children. At regular primary schools, the waist circumference is increasing, at the primary schools participating in the project, children remain in the healthy weight class. ”
According to Jansen, the balance is getting more and more out of balance. Children need to eat healthier to avoid getting sick later on. “Doing nothing is not an option. If we do nothing, it will only get worse. Chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular in particular are starting at an increasingly younger age. We have to do something about that. That is also good against the rising healthcare costs.”
The results of the project also show that children in healthy schools do not only have a healthier weight. The atmosphere in the classroom is also improving. And there is less bullying. “In healthy schools, pedagogical employees wait an hour and a half during the lunch break. Those are extra eyes,” says Janssen. “And they are well trained to let children play the game themselves. Children don’t have time to bully each other. Bullying is often out of boredom.”
Initiator Province of Limburg will set up a foundation on Tuesday. Schools that want to join the Healthy Primary School of the Future project can register with that foundation. The number of GBT schools in Limburg is being expanded. In the coming year, nine healthy primary schools will be added. The intention is that by 2023 some 30 primary schools will be affiliated with the project. The project costs 4.50 euros per day per child. The province is looking for options to reduce that amount.
Deputy Robert Housmans about the project: