The Danish Ministry of Health and the Novo Nordisk Foundation have decided to establish the Centre for Childhood Health. This long-term initiative will contribute to promoting healthy weight and well-being among children in Denmark. Søren Brostrøm, Director General, Danish Health Authority has been elected as Chair of the Board. Morten Grønbæk will become the CEO of the Centre.
In May 2022, a broad majority in Denmark’s Folketing (parliament) decided to prioritise DKK 10 million annually from 2023 to 2032 to co-finance the Centre for Childhood Health, and the Board of Directors of the Novo Nordisk Foundation has just decided to award up to DKK 1 billion to the Centre over 10 years. The Centre is expected to open on 1st of January 2023.
The primary purpose of Centre for Childhood Health is to provide new evidence-based solutions that can promote healthy weight and well-being among children. Such knowledge will be translated into practice in the form of initiatives involving children, their families, and professionals as well as the environments in which the children live. The initiatives will promote well-being, be destigmatising and prevent a weight development that can adversely influence the physical and mental health of the children.
The initiatives will be implemented in close partnerships with many public and private actors in this field, including Denmark’s municipalities and administrative regions, research and educational institutions, private associations, and others.
The Minister for Health has appointed Søren Brostrøm, Director General, Danish Health Authority, as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Centre. In addition, Morten Grønbæk has been appointed as CEO of the Centre. Morten Grønbæk comes from a position as Director of the National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Demark and has extensive experience with health research and management within the Danish healthcare system. He has also chaired the Danish Council on Health and Disease Prevention for many years.
Magnus Heunicke, Minister for Health, says:
“We must ensure more knowledge about health and well-being, which are crucial for ensuring that children and adolescents live a good life. Based on the 2022 healthcare reform and in collaboration with the Novo Nordisk Foundation, we have therefore allocated funding to the Centre for Childhood Health. The appointment of Søren Brostrøm as Chair of the Board shows that children’s health and well-being have the highest priority for the government. In addition, the fact that the Centre has attracted such a strong profile in health promotion and prevention as Morten Grønbæk to be the CEO of the Centre is a great success. Søren Brostrøm and Morten Grønbæk will guarantee excellent professional standards and good collaboration between the public authorities, research institutions and the Centre’s work.”
Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation, says:
“With the Centre for Childhood Health, we want to create an optimal framework for developing healthy future generations. Overweight among children is increasing, and many children will carry overweight in childhood and adolescence into adulthood. With the Foundation’s support for the new Centre, we want to provide the opportunity to launch major initiatives to obtain new knowledge and find more effective measures than we have today to understand and address the many and complex causes of unhealthy weight development and lack of well-being.”
Søren Brostrøm, Director General, Danish Health Authority and Chair of the Board, Centre for Childhood Health, says:
“Obesity is an increasing public health problem, but focused initiatives in childhood can both prevent overweight later in life and help children with overweight who experience stigmatisation, low self-esteem and poor well-being. With this new specialised centre for developing knowledge and competencies and the major long-term grant from the Foundation, we have a good basis for reversing the trends. And with Morten Grønbæk, we have a very strong professional capacity heading the new Centre for Childhood Health. I am convinced that, with the Centre for Childhood Health, we can position Denmark at the very top internationally in this field.”
Morten Grønbæk, incoming CEO, Centre for Childhood Health, says:
“I am very much looking forward to heading up the work of the Centre and contributing to ensuring more children’s lives in balance. Poor well-being and overweight are growing societal problems that are also significantly socially imbalanced. Ensuring better health and well-being requires starting with our children and adolescents. A child’s early development, health and well-being strongly affect how the child fares later in life. In the Centre, we will therefore create more knowledge about which initiatives effectively promote both healthy weight and well-being among children and adolescents.”
Members of the Board of Directors
The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Danish Regions, Local Government Denmark and the Novo Nordisk Foundation have appointed the following members of the Board:
- Søren Brostrøm (Chair), Danish Health Authority
- Annelise Fenger, Deputy Director, Danish Veterinary and Food Administration
- Arne Astrup, Senior Vice President, Novo Nordisk Foundation
- Bente Merete Stallknecht, Dean, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen
- Camilla Hersom, Deputy Director, Danish Regions
- Christian Harsløf, Director, Local Government Denmark
- Dorte Bech Vizard, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health
Information about the Centre
Through close partnerships, the Centre for Childhood Health will launch activities that contribute to the health and well-being of children within four closely linked action areas, all of which are based on a holistic approach with a focus on general health promotion and targeted initiatives.
New knowledge: the Centre will create the basis for effective policies, initiatives and evidence-based changes through interdisciplinary research and development.
Knowledge-based change and implementation: the Centre will create changes by embedding effective initiatives and carrying out research-based testing of models for health promotion, prevention, and treatment.
Developing competencies: the Centre will create and implement education and courses that ensure that evidence-based knowledge and competencies are disseminated to professionals and volunteers.
Knowledge sharing: the Centre will collate and disseminate evidence-based knowledge within Denmark and internationally.
The Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Danish Ministry of Health have established the Centre for Childhood Health as a private association.