Eating environment influences strongly on eating habits of children. Every fifth of the Finnish children starting secondary school are obese. VTT and University of Eastern Finland are running a project called Terra, which investigates the current state of the eating environment of children in Finland, its financial impacts and explores efficient ways to enhance the eating environment to support healthy eating. The steering group of the project involves experts from Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Ministry of Education and Culture.
Childhood obesity predicts adulthood obesity and increases the risk of various chronic diseases. National and municipal decision-making, home, day care, school, food supply and advertisement define the eating environment. Several actors influence the eating environment, which makes it difficult to steer and develop the policies related to it. VTT will explore who are the most influential actors in the field and compiles concrete proposals of action to develop the eating environment of children to support healthy eating. Finland is currently lacking systematic methods to collect information regarding diets and nutritional state of children. University of Eastern Finland will develop new data collection methods to enable systematic data collection and data-derived decision-making. University of Eastern Finland will also estimate financial impacts of childhood obesity. The 1-year project is conducted as part of Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities (VN TEAS).
For more information: