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Urban governance for public health and sustainable development: the case of childhood obesity prevention in two Flemish cities

Joke Van Assche (UGent), Stefaan De Henauw (UGent) and Herwig Reynaert (UGent)
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Organization
Abstract
As I am a researcher at the Centre for Sustainable Development since 15 years, it is quite clear to me that a strategy on childhood obesity prevention can trigger a local sustainability strategy. It is necessary to consider 'sustainability' as a concept related to a human needs based approach, taking into account the needs of the poor and the future generations. Local strategies on diet and physical activity do relate directly to some policy domains which underpin a 'healthy life style' and at the same time are very relevant for a local sustainability approach. To support a 'healthy life style' we look at policy themes which relate to the diet-side of the coin, such as labeling of food, community based agriculture, shortening chains in providing for fresh vegetables and fruit, availability of drinkable tap water, etc. From the physical activity point of view a 'healthy life style' can be promoted by taking action in the policy domain of mobility (promoting walking and cycling, traffic safety, et.), or parks and public gardens (promotion of playing grounds, urban planning of those parks, securing social safety of those parks, playing grounds, etc.), etc. So, in theory, tackling obesity or promoting healthy diet and physical activity at the one hand is clearly linked to promoting local sustainable development at the other hand, providing it is seen as a need based approach towards the local community. This paper presents you with the results of two case studies on this matter. Within the framework of the EEN-project (Epode European Network) we study the networks of childhood obesity prevention in two Flemish cities. To be consulted at http://www.epode-european-network.com/ In those cities we also look at the linkages with themes and domains of the Local Agenda 21 and other local sustainability issues. Do project collaborators in the world of public health do have contact with their colleagues in sustainability project? Do the sometimes work together? Or are they willing to do so? And play local governments a positive role in the coordination of both kinds of projects? And are local governments in the position to advocate that all kinds of networks for more public health do at the same time promote local sustainability? And if local government leaders are aware of the similarities between public health and sustainability policy, can they make use of the momentum in the climate or mobility domain to take them a step further, so policy action is implemented all the way down to changing the behavior of citizens, not only to the benefit of climate change or traffic jams, but also in favour of their own health?
Keywords
sustainable development, health promotion, childhood obesity prevention, urban governance

Citation

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Chicago
Van Assche, Joke, Stefaan De Henauw, and Herwig Reynaert. 2010. “Urban Governance for Public Health and Sustainable Development: The Case of Childhood Obesity Prevention in Two Flemish Cities.” In Health Promotion, 20th IUHPE World Conference, Abstracts.
APA
Van Assche, Joke, De Henauw, S., & Reynaert, H. (2010). Urban governance for public health and sustainable development: the case of childhood obesity prevention in two Flemish cities. Health Promotion, 20th IUHPE world conference, Abstracts. Presented at the 20th IUHPE world conference on Health Promotion : Joining forces for health, equity and sustainable development.
Vancouver
1.
Van Assche J, De Henauw S, Reynaert H. Urban governance for public health and sustainable development: the case of childhood obesity prevention in two Flemish cities. Health Promotion, 20th IUHPE world conference, Abstracts. 2010.
MLA
Van Assche, Joke, Stefaan De Henauw, and Herwig Reynaert. “Urban Governance for Public Health and Sustainable Development: The Case of Childhood Obesity Prevention in Two Flemish Cities.” Health Promotion, 20th IUHPE World Conference, Abstracts. 2010. Print.
@inproceedings{1094110,
  abstract     = {As I am a researcher at the Centre for Sustainable Development since 15 years, it is quite clear to me that a strategy on childhood obesity prevention can trigger a local sustainability strategy. It is necessary to consider 'sustainability' as a concept related to a human needs based approach, taking into account the needs of the poor and the future generations. Local strategies on diet and physical activity do relate directly to some policy domains which underpin a 'healthy life style' and at the same time are very relevant for a local sustainability approach. To support a 'healthy life style' we look at policy themes which relate to the diet-side of the coin, such as labeling of food, community based agriculture, shortening chains in providing for fresh vegetables and fruit, availability of drinkable tap water, etc. From the physical activity point of view a 'healthy life style' can be promoted by taking action in the policy domain of mobility (promoting walking and cycling, traffic safety, et.), or parks and public gardens (promotion of playing grounds, urban planning of those parks, securing social safety of those parks, playing grounds, etc.), etc. So, in theory, tackling obesity or promoting healthy diet and physical activity at the one hand is clearly linked to promoting local sustainable development at the other hand, providing it is seen as a need based approach towards the local community.
This paper presents you with the results of two case studies on this matter. Within the framework of the EEN-project (Epode European Network) we study the networks of childhood obesity prevention in two Flemish cities. To be consulted at http://www.epode-european-network.com/  In those cities we also look at the linkages with themes and domains of the Local Agenda 21 and other local sustainability issues. Do project collaborators in the world of public health do have contact with their colleagues in sustainability project? Do the sometimes work together? Or are they willing to do so? And play  local governments a positive role in the coordination of both kinds of projects? And are local governments in the position to advocate that all kinds of networks for more public health do at the same time promote local sustainability? And if local government leaders are aware of the similarities between public health and sustainability policy, can they make use of the momentum in the climate or mobility domain to take them a step further, so policy action is implemented all the way down to changing the behavior of citizens, not only to the benefit of climate change or traffic jams, but also in favour of their own health?},
  author       = {Van Assche, Joke and De Henauw, Stefaan and Reynaert, Herwig},
  booktitle    = {Health Promotion, 20th IUHPE world conference, Abstracts},
  keyword      = {sustainable development,health promotion,childhood obesity prevention,urban governance},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Geneva, Switzerland},
  title        = {Urban governance for public health and sustainable development: the case of childhood obesity prevention in two Flemish cities},
  year         = {2010},
}