Feb 3, 2014, updated February 2014
The Vivons en Forme (Vif) programme in France is part of the Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme that aims to tackle the prevalence of obesity.
About one in ten people are obese in France, and almost 40% are overweight, according to statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
OECD forecasts indicate an increase in the number of children who are overweight, but child obesity rates are likely to remain below 10% over the next ten years.
However worryingly, children in France are about three times more likely to suffer from obesity if they have at least one obese parent.
Since 1992, Nestlé France has supported the nutrition education programme ‘Fleurbaix Laventie Ville Santé’ (FLVS study) in two villages in northern France.
Based on the outcomes of the study in 2004, FLVS launched the ‘Ensemble, Prévenons l’Obésité Des Enfants’ (EPODE) project, translated in English is: Together, Let’s Prevent Childhood Obesity.
It was launched as a community-based programme aimed at preventing overweight and obesity in children.
In 2011, FLVS launched the Vivons en Forme programme, which means ‘Let us live in good health’. It aims to prevent childhood overweight and obesity, engage with families and parents to reinforce parenthood, and reduce social inequalities related to diet and physical activity.
It is now implemented in 250 towns and supported by the Fondation Nestlé France.
Vif’s activities are based on the principle of learning through play and making healthy living the norm.
As part of the programme, Nestlé is supporting the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Sport, in line with the national guidelines: “Programme National Nutrition Santé” and “Plan National Obésité”.
A coordinating unit has been established to support the participating towns and communities in developing long-term actions related to diet and physical activity.
Vif provides training to local stakeholders together with communication and mobilisation tools such as posters, factsheets, newsletters, workshops and menus to help with the implementation of actions and activities.
The programme’s content is created under the supervision of a committee of independent experts and specialists in collaboration with education, psychology, sociology, sports, and nutrition professionals.
Data analysis led by the University of Lille in France monitors and evaluates the programme. This includes measuring the Body Mass Index (BMI) of participating children every two years.
The university has dedicated full-time staff to the evaluation since February 2013.
Each year, it builds a methodology and suggests actions based on research from children and parents who take part in participating schools.
A theme is discussed with an aim to encourage behavioural changes. In 2010 the theme focused on Portions, in 2011 Taste, Snacks and Physical Activity, in 2012 Meals, and in 2013 The Clever Kitchen Kit.
Questionnaires and interviews are organised with parents and professionals to gauge their responses on the themed actions.
Value to Society
Vif has already benefited about 280,000 children and 1,200 teachers in 600 schools.
Results have proved to be encouraging at national level, with a decrease in childhood obesity since 2005, compared to other areas in France.
BMI trends have also been significantly encouraging.
Value to Nestlé
Vif establishes a global competitive advantage and demonstrates Nestlé’s commitment to address health issues globally; and has a positive impact on Nestlé’s reputation as a leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company.
Fondation Nestlé France will continue to support Vif to focus on the improving, developing and evaluating the initiative.