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The goal of “Petica-play for Health” project is to help reduce excess weight and obesity in children by implementing a community based programme that will target social lifestyle norms and behaviors in the field of nutrition and physical activity developed for the long term. Due to the fact that 26,4% school-aged children are overweight and 11,2% are obese in Croatia, the programme aims at generating concrete and sustainable changes in the local environment of the family in order to make it less obesogenic. Furthermore, interventions targeted at children and their families are vital for the prevention of obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases.

“Petica-play for Health” will target children aged 8-10 and their families and will primarily be focused on:

– emphasizing the importance of primary prevention of obesity

– emphasizing the importance of an adequate, balanced diet and enhancing nutrition habits

– emphasizing the importance and increasing the rates of physically active children


The specific goals of  “Petica-play for Health” programme are:

– decreased obesity rates in children aged from 8-10

– raise awareness, modify stands and gain knowledge regarding the importance of an adequate and balanced diet and healthy eating habits

– raise awareness, modify attitudes and gain knowledge on the necessity of regular physical activity;

– promotion of the beneficial effects of regular physical activity in children and parents;

– educating parents on the importance of healthy eating habits and enabling them to prepare easy, nutritious meals for children on an everyday basis;

– evaluation and follow up of all key factors influencing eating behaviors and habits but also regular physical activity.

The “Petica-play for Health” programme is primarily aimed at the population of Zagreb, focusing on two districts; New Zagreb-east and Downtown including approximately 2000 direct beneficiaries during the school year 2014/2015. During the school year 2015/2016 we plan to include 8 more schools in two, new districts in Zagreb thus encompassing about 5500 beneficiaries. At the start of the project we will be implementing the programme solely in Zagreb because it is the biggest city in Croatia, containing 1/4 of the total population of Croatia. Also, it will be easier to attain all institutional and political support in the capital city. So far, the project has gained the support of many institutions that are listed below. In later stages (school year 2016/2017) we hope to include other towns in Croatia as well. The programme is being implemented as part of the regular school curriculum in primary schools from 2nd to 4th grade during the whole school year and has obtained the permission of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports. Various scientists, from the field of medicine, nutrition, kinesiology, public health, psychology etc., have been working on the preparation and development of all the educational materials for children and parents. The programme is being implemented through lectures and workshops in schools and with the help of various educational materials, tools, newsletters and leaflets. In addition, we have organized events that are also related to enhancing and promoting healthy dietary patterns and regular physical activity. Furthermore, the implementation is being done by teachers and students from the Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology and from the Faculty of Kinesiology.


Public partners

Croatian Medical Association

Ministry of Health

Ministry of Science, Education and Sports

The Mayor’s office

City office for Health

City office for Education, Culture and Sports

Croatian Education and Teacher Training Agency

Croatian Institute of Public Health

The Zagreb County Institute of Public Health

Andrija Štampar School of Public Health

University of Zagreb Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology

University of Zagreb Faculty of Kinesiology

University of Zagreb School of Medicine

Croatian Society of Nutritionists and Dietitians

Croatian Institute of Nutrition

Croatia Heart House

Private partners

Coca-cola Foundation

Gama studio d.o.o.

Printera group d.o.o.

Mikronis d.o.o.

Čazmatrans promet d.o.o.


Prof. Željko Krznarić, MD, PhD, FEBGH, President of the Croatian Medical Association (coordination team)

Asst. Prof. Darija Vranešić Bender, BSC, PhD, Scientific coordinator

Sara Cobal, MSc, Project Manager



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