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Nine projects will ensure more physical activity and improved health among children

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded nine grants for research and for initiatives that will boost physical activity among children and improve their health. The grants total DKK 60 million.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded nine grants through its Children, Health and Movement programme that aims to support research and initiatives in Denmark focusing on physical activity among children and their health.

The nine grants have all been awarded for projects in Denmark that address opportunities for increasing physical activity among children, thereby ensuring better health, tackling overweight, improving the quality of life and increasing learning opportunities. The grants also aim to contribute to reducing inequity in health among children in Denmark.

“Insufficient physical activity has become too common in Denmark. Research shows that less than one third of 11- to 15-year-olds are physically active 60 minutes per day as recommended by the Danish Health Authority. We are pleased to support these nine projects, which will broadly create engaging environments that can motivate children and adolescents to experience physical activity as fun, and we very much look forward to following their progress,” explains Hanna Line Jakobsen, Director of Social Programmes, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Focus on physical activity in deprived neighbourhoods
Among those awarded a grant, Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen is receiving DKK 9,476,343 that will enable researchers to carry out the project Happy, Healthy and Active Children (Sunde Glade Børn i Bevægelse), which aims to promote social cohesion and health among children in deprived neighbourhoods. The project will be centred around play, food and nature, and will include numerous fun and educational outdoor activities in collaboration with parents and the local community. The aim is to ensure local ownership of activities that fit into the annual cycle of childcare centres and the everyday lives of families with children.

The project will be led by Paul Bloch, Team Leader and Senior Researcher from Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, and will be implemented in collaboration with Copenhagen Hospitality College; Husum for All (a comprehensive plan for social housing in Husum, near Copenhagen) ; FSB, a large nonprofit social housing society; Gerlev Sports Academy; and the Danish Society for Nature Conservation.

Children with disabilities getting access to outdoor schools
The Foundation has awarded another grant to researchers at Frederiksberg and Bispebjerg Hospital, who have received DKK 4,851,670 for the MoveOut special education project that will focus on children with disabilities who have a high risk of a low level of physical activity. The researchers will develop guidelines to optimise access to play and physical activity in outdoor schools in special education. This will be achieved by developing and evaluating outdoor schools in special education in collaboration with teachers, students and experts in adapted physical education.

Mette Aadahl, Clinical Professor, Centre for Clinical Research and Preventionwill lead the project, in collaboration with Frederiksberg and Bispebjerg hospital.

Unique outdoor programme for adolescents in Fyn
The Municipality of Faaborg-Midtfyn has received a grant of DKK 9,773,758 to implement the Naturally project (NATUR-lig), which will involve teaching children to be moved by and in nature. The Municipality will create unique outdoor leisure facilities for 12- to 16-year-olds to improve their physical and mental health. The project will focus on physicality, the pleasure of physical activity and sharing experiences with other people in supportive environments.

The project will last 4 years and will take place in collaboration with Øhavsmuseet Faaborg, Tarup-Davinde I/S, Outdoor Sydfyn and Geopark South Fyn Archipelago, with the University of Southern Denmark as the research partner. Theis Bavnhøj Hansen, Team Leader, Municipality of Faaborg-Midtfyn, will lead the project.

Nine projects awarded grants
In addition to Happy, Healthy and Active Children, MoveOut-special and Naturally, the Foundation has awarded grants for six other projects, several of which include strong cross-sectoral partnerships. The following are recipients.

  • Børnenes Kooperativ (Children’s COOP) – DKK 9,773,470
    The purpose of the project is to create and maintain healthy physical activity habits among schoolchildren 6–12 years old in local communities. The grant recipients are three Steno Diabetes Centres (Aarhus, Copenhagen, Zealand) Aarhus University and Deakin University, Geelong, Australia. Jane Nautrup Østergaard, Programme Manager, will lead the project.
  • Fit First for All – DKK 7,379,053
    The project will involve a physical activity concept to be rolled out to 22,500 schoolchildren 6–16 years old. The University of Southern Denmark is the grant recipient, with Professor Peter Krustrup managing the project.
  • The Act-child Study – DKK 6,522,915
    The researchers will examine the long-term effects of physical activity, especially high-intensity exercise, on the mental and physical health of children with overweight in collaboration with the Municipality of Aarhus. Jens Meldgaard Bruun, Professor, Aarhus University is the grant recipient.
  • Børnehavebørn Bruger Bolden (Preschool Children Use Balls) – DKK 4,788,105
    The purpose of the project is to develop evidence-based solutions for how play and ball-based activities can promote physical activity among 3- to 6-year-olds. Lars Breum Christiansen, Associate Professor, University of Southern Denmark is the main applicant in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen, University College South Denmark, University College London (United Kingdom) and the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark.
  • FoodAct – DKK 3,966,686
    This research project aims to investigate the effect of the school garden project Haver til Maver (From Gardens to Bellies) together with the Haver til Maver association. The grant recipient is Peter Elsborg, Postdoctoral Fellow and Ph.d., Centre for Clinical Research and Prevention, Frederiksberg and Bispebjerg Hospital.
  • Automatic Insulin Dosing and Physical Activity – DKK 3,468,000
    The researchers in this project will examine how well insulin pumps for young people function during physical activity. Jannets Svensson, Associate Professor, Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen is the grant recipient.

Further information

Nine projects will ensure more physical activity and improved health among children