Preventing future diabetes
Children and adolescents are generally healthy, but might contract type 2 diabetes (T2D) much later in their lives. Consequently, they need to be aware of the importance of their weight, eating habits and, physical activity, and gain action competence in order to be able to make informed choices in the future.
HEPCOM – which stands for Health Educational Projects COMmunity – is an EU project aiming to prevent overweight and obesity among children and young people in Europe.
HEPCOM’s overall objective is to increase the quality and level of community and school health interventions all over Europe by promoting healthy eating and physical activity among children and young people. The project intends to identify and up-scale best practices and results from previous and current public health programmes.
In the long term, HEPCOM will contribute to increase the quality of health-promoting activities around Europe to help reduce health inequality among children and young people.
Strategically, HEPCOM will mapnetwork a broad range of previous and existing European projects, proposing a structured and common way of gathering and disseminating learning and good practice tools from these projects.
The High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health will benefit from the project and the web-based learning platform, as it will give easy and structured access to good practice results.
At the same time, it will serve as a good information channel towards local communities and schools. In the future, the platform will be a valuable and sustainable tool to reach regional authorities and local communities with good practice tools.
Online platform development
HEPCOM starts with analysing local communities’ and schools’ needs for knowledge and inspiration on health-promoting interventions. A mapping exercise will be carried out through a systematic gathering of best practices, from former and existing European projects. A gap analysis will demonstrate missing links. With this information, the project team will develop the first version of the web-based learning platform and tools.
The platform will be tested in 45 local communities in 15 European countries before the project team develops the final version. Through national seminars and a European conference, the online learning platform will be presented to a broad audience and launched for future use by stakeholders in local communities.
HEPCOM targets two main groups. The first are local and regional policy makers and decision makers who are involved in strategic planning and overall decision making on health promotion for children and young people. The second are professional practitioners within local communities and schools who are actively involved in health promoting activities and interventions for children and young people. The online learning platform can assist both groups to improve their daily work with the topic and increase local, community-based interventions for healthy eating and physical activity.
Children, young people and families will also benefit from HEPCOM’s new generation of local and school-based interventions.
Another indirect target group will be research communities, NGOs, and other actors involved in European project work. They can all use the new learning platform in two ways: 1) as a learning community to find well-structured inspiration instead of “re-inventing the wheel”, and 2) as a future dissemination channel and web-based learning community, where networking and exchange of experiences gained from European projects can take place.
HEPCOM is expected to support substantial up-scaling of best practices through the web-based learning platform. It will provide a solid basis for sustainable networking between projects and experts, and it will deliver a better uptake, utilization and up-scaling of initiatives that have already proven to be successful among local communities around Europe.
HEPCOM will fill several important knowledge- and dissemination gaps. Through a substantial up scaling of good practice tools from former and existing European projects, the project will support important qualification processes on local level, leading to a substantial increase in the level of community- and school-based interventions promoting healthy eating and physical activity for children and young people.
EU’s DG SANCO programme.
HEPCOM partners are 20 research institutions from 16 member states: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark (including the Steno Diabetes Center), Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and UK.
Involving so many partners from all parts of Europe ensures a broad geographical coverage and diversified understanding and application of cultural, political and structural issues throughout the development and implementation of the project. Municipalities and primary schools in Denmark and abroad will be engaged in collaborative pilot projects.