EU Project "RYHEALTH" Promotes Healthy Lifestyle among Primary and Secondary School Students to Prevent Non-Communicable Diseases

EU Project "RYHEALTH" Promotes Healthy Lifestyle among Primary and Secondary School Students to Prevent Non-Communicable Diseases
The first meeting of the European RYHEALTH, Rock Your Health project was held in Coimbra, Portugal, in early January. Participating organizations presented an analysis of the current state of health habits in their respective countries and began planning aspects of project implementation and next actions.
The project, which is co-funded by the EU's research and innovation program EU4Health and was adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen crisis preparedness in the EU, involves six partners from four European countries. These include Spain, Portugal, Germany and Sweden.

RYHEALTH aims to develop a comprehensive approach for students and young people, focusing on a socially integrated concept that will spread throughout society and have a major impact on health promotion and prevention of non-communicable diseases (such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases) in the European Union. 

The main priorities are summarized in the 4 so-called "projects" of RYHEALTH. The "project" wording translates OAC's 4 Key Pillars of a Healthy Lifestyle (below in brackets) into familiar project work in schools, making them understandable and transferable for all involved.

The Activity Project. ( Physical Activity & Outdoor Sports)
The Food Project. (Balanced Nutrition)
The Sustainability Project. (Sustainability & Nature)
The Happiness Project. (Physical & Mental Well-Being)

The goal is to learn, experience and live healthy behaviors in a sustainable way already in primary and secondary school. This way, the project also aims to drive the very slow adaptation of curricula in EU member states.

'Too optimistic? Certainly not! The NGOs, schools, universities and stakeholders at the European level involved in the project want to support exactly this with all their strength. Concentrated competence and a strong will to change things are anchored in the DNA of this project. After all, it's the big visions that also set big things in motion. 'If you set your goals ridiculously high and it's a failure, you will fail above everyone else's success.' as James Cameron once said.' – Petra Thaller, OAC Founder & President and author of the RYHEALTH project proposal.

The project thus reaches children of different socioeconomic statuses and involves teachers, students and parents, creating an intergenerational impact and fulfilling the aspiration of E4Health: HealthyLifeStyle4All.

For this purpose, a RYHEALTH toolbox consisting of a RYHEALTH website and a RYHEALTH app will be developed with the aim that children and young people learn to pursue a healthy lifestyle on their own. Despite the app, the long-term goal is to move the target group away from mobile devices and towards more physical activity in nature and thus improved physical and well-being. OAC is the leader of the Impact and Dissemination work package.

Michaela Wiese, Managing Director of the project partner Campus di Monaco on the 4 projects:
Enabling children to develop well requires a holistic approach of healthy eating, adequate exercise and mental health. In the safe environment of their school, they learn methods for a healthy and sustainable adult life. 

Project Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Paula Tavares, University of Coimbra, Portugal.

Project partners: 
Portugal - University of Coimbra, Escola Basica Valarinho do Bairro
Spain - University of Cadiz
Germany - Outdoor Against Cancer OAC, Campus di Monaco
Sweden - Region Västerbotten

Project contact, inquiries for schools and possible associated partners, and further information: 
Dr. h.c. Petra Thaller, Founder & President Outdoor Against Cancer, Germany;

Project duration: 30 months
Total budget: € 1.28 million
Project Website:

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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