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New approach to social initiatives will promote equality in health among children and young people

Health needs to be better integrated into social initiatives targeting children and young people. The Novo Nordisk Foundation has therefore allocated DKK 20 million for a new grant programme that will encourage new approaches and collaboration between the social and health sectors.

Denmark has great social inequality in health. Children from families with fewer resources are less physically active, eat less healthily and are more likely to be overweight.

On average, 18% of children in Denmark are overweight when they leave primary and lower-secondary school, and as many as 33% among vulnerable children. This can cause serious physical, mental health and social problems for individual children.

To promote equality in health among children and young people in Denmark, the Novo Nordisk Foundation will support innovative, high-quality projects aimed at integrating health into social initiatives in Denmark. The Foundation will do this through a new grant programme (information only available in Danish) that will inspire social organisations to prioritise and incorporate such areas as healthy food habits or physical activity into social initiatives and structures targeting children and young people.

Making a real difference for children and young people

“The Novo Nordisk Foundation wants to promote health among vulnerable children and young people in Denmark by supporting innovative intersectoral collaborations. Many social organisations are already in close contact with children who are in vulnerable situations. These organisations therefore have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the health of children and young people, a target group with whom they are very familiar. Combining this knowledge with knowledge from the health sector can make a definite difference for the children who need help the most,” says Mette Ide Davidsen, Senior Programme Lead, Social & Humanitarian, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

In creating the new grant programme, the Foundation has established a Committee for Health Integrated in Social Initiatives that will assess the applications submitted.

“The most vulnerable people in our society are usually the most challenged in navigating between systems and sectors. As a society, we must therefore become significantly better at creating holistic, preventive health initiatives that give priority to vulnerable children and young people – instead of letting ourselves be guided by the demarcations between sectors and other organizational boundaries,” says Louise Gade, Executive Vice President for HR, Salling Group and Chair of the Committee, adding:

“We must become better at integrating health into social initiatives. When this happens, we improve the life skills of vulnerable children and young people physically, mentally, cognitively and socially, so that they have the same opportunities as all other children.”

The other members of the Committee are: Camilla Noelle Rathcke, Chair, Danish Medical Association; and Karen Logo-Koefoed, Head of the Advisory Centre for Children and Adolescents, Municipality of Høje-Taastrup.

Criteria for applicants

Applications are invited for grants of DKK 1 million to DKK 5 million for initiatives over 1 to 5 years.

The main applicant must be a manager or project manager in a non-profit organisation in Denmark. Projects based on partnerships across the social and health sectors will be preferred.

Read more about the grant programme and the application process here (information only available in Danish).

Further information

Sabina Askholm Larsen, Communications Partner, +45 2367 3226, [email protected]