“Fight the beast don’t become obese” was a strategic partnership between Ireland, Malta and Latvia – three countries that the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated to become the fattest countries in Europe by 2030 if no urgent action regarding the obesity crisis is taken. According to a comprehensive global study of obesity published in 2014 it was stated that Ireland’s population has overweight and obesity levels in excess of the European level.
On the other side, Maltese kids and youth are amongst the most overweight in the world with obesity levels reaching frightening proportions. But obesity is not just a unique problem to Malta or Ireland. The European statistics shows that Latvian women rank third in the European obesity rate. The partners acknowledged that obesity is a serious public health issue and this project could be a good start for young people to stop ignoring serious consequences of the obesity and have a closer look at foods that they consume. The project addressed two major factors/needs necessary to start fighting the obesity crisis . Firstly, the need of understanding food labels and nutritional values of foods and secondly the need of cooking skills using organic/local and healthy products.People involved in the project were young disadvantaged people who left school early and as a result were facing educational difficulties and social obstacles and were finding difficult to engage with their local communities. Lack of social skills, law self -esteem and no confidence prevent them from becoming valuable members of society. The project addressed their needs and equipped them with new experiences and skills necessary for starting making changes in their lives.
In order to achieve the best outcomes the project activities and tasks were very practical, interactive and group based. The methodology used involved brainstorming, discussions, visits to local farms and hands-on experience, cooking, teamworking, problem solving and decision making.The partners involved in the project were carefully selected based on their experience of working with young disadvantaged people.
Blanchardstown Community Training Centre (Ireland) provides training, work experience and support to meet the needs of early school leavers and help them to achieve their full potential.
Baltic Regional Fund (Latvia) provides support for youth at risk, early school leavers, unemployed people and migrants to equip them with necessary tools to become valuable members of the Latvian society.
Agenzija Zghazagh (Malta) provides platform for young people where they can express themselves and become aware of their full potential. This is done through a non -formal learning methods.
All three organisations are very experienced at working with young disadvantaged people and aware of their needs. On completion of this project young people were able to read and understand nutritional values of foods and were aware of what foods are high in fats, saturated fats, sugar and salt. They were able to prepare basic healthy meals using organic ingredients sourced from the local farms. By using their cooking skills they were able to see a difference between home made food and pre-packed, ready to eat food. Their learning, practical experiences and knowledge has been presented in the cook book created during the project. It consists a guideline on reading and understanding food labels, information about local/organic farms visited during the project and a collection of healthy and simple recipes prepared by young people. It has been anticipated that the cook book will start a food revolution at the local level. Young people directly and indirectly involved in the project will become local healthy food promoters. With their new skills, experiences and knowledge they will promote a healthy eating but also will raise awareness of harmful and serious consequences of the obesity crisis. It is hoped that this will start reversing the raising trend in obesity.
The cookbook ‘Fight the beast don’t become obese’ can be downloaded HERE
If you have any questions regarding the cookbook or the project please contact the following:
ANNA FARRELL –Project Manager (Ireland)
firstname.lastname@example.org or +353 8035016
NIAMH MORGAN -Project Coordinator (Ireland)
email@example.com or +353 8035016
GINTA SALMINA -Project Coordinator (Latvia)
firstname.lastname@example.org or + 371 29256888
CARL VELLA Project Coordinator (Malta)
email@example.com or +356 2258 6700