Portugal is one of the European countries with the highest prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity. Based on the rationale that local governments exert an important and decisive role in counteracting childhood obesity, MUN-SI program was developed.
MUN-SI is an on-going community-based program at local level, which aims to promote lifestyles changes in the long-term. MUN-SI programme arises closer to each municipality needs and local policies and intends to offer a proactive and interactive response to the problem of childhood malnutrition (obesity and thinness), seeking its prevention on continuous and sustainable actions developed during 1-4 years periods.
It is developed trough a multistakeholder approach, focusing in 6 main areas, with a main goal to slow the progression of the prevalence of childhood malnutrition in Portugal through a set of activities in which local environments encourage the community to adopt healthy lifestyles.
It intends to reach national and international Health Plans, supporting decision makers on healthy local policies through activities directed to local participants (family, school and environment), mostly on healthy eating habits and on the promotion of physical activity.
Ana Rito is the Director of CEIDSS (Research Centre for Health Nutrition and Social Dynamics) where she has been coordinating Projects based on the development of creative answers to tackle childhood obesity of a municipality-level, such as the MUNSI Program. She graduated in Nutritional Sciences (Portugal), obtained a Master Degree in Medical Sciences (UK) and her PhD in Public Health (Brazil). On her second Post-Doc in the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge – Portugal she is also the Principal Investigator of COSI (Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative) in Portugal and a member of the Executive Committee of the COSI – WHO/Regional Office for Europe. She has also vast experience as a University Lecturer and as the Head of Bachelor degree in Nutrition Sciences.
Ana RITO, Project manager