Newsletter No 1 – Autumn 2007


Dear Reader,


we are very pleased to welcome to the first edition of our newsletter which provides information about the Leonardo Da Vinci Project “Child Oriented Catering". The focus of the project is the transnational development and testing of new educational content and methods for home economics, catering and child care with a specific focus on children in their early years of education and care.


This newsletter and following editions aims to inform you about the activities and outcomes of our ongoing activities. As well as information about our work, there will also be additional information, tips and links regarding other European and national strategies relating to the promotion of improved nutritional benefits for children in the early years of life.


"Child Oriented Catering" is a project funded by the European Communities Leonardo da Vinci Programme for 2 years, between October 2006 and September 2008.


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Project news

The project group on its way to a common dinner

In June 2007 the second project meeting took place in Cawsand, Cornwall, United Kingdom.


The main focus of the work was:


- to define the specific content and structure for the qualification modules and

- to begin the process of integrating the modules into an overall pedagogical framework.


The testing and adaptation of the qualification modules will then take place and a first set of materials will be available on the website from the end of 2007 for the use in professional and further education.


More information about the project

Overweight and Obese Children - an European problem

Overweight and obesity represents an increasing problem in our society even during early childhood. Different statistics form proof of this development.


The number of overweight children and young people in Europe is estimated at 14 million from which are about 3 million obese (Child Obesity Report, 2004). More recent data of the KIGGS survey (survey of children and youth health in Germany, 2007) suggests the increase of weight gain correlates with the increaseing age. The report also sites the relationship between obesity and those children categorised as socially disadvantaged, indicating that certain groups are vulnerable to increased weight gain. For example, children of lower class or immigrant families show a much higher prevalence of obesity, as do children whose mother is overweight.


But social factors only represent part of the problem; environmental changes such as more traffic and increasing urbanisation have reduced space for movement and free play. Parents take their children to school or kindergarten by car and the extended variety of all kinds of media devices results in children spending more time watching TV or sitting in front of the computer. There are also high marketing efforts to promote all kinds of child food products and other convenience food.


Other cultural factors include the increased variety of food to buy and eat, the fact that portions are getting bigger and the quantity of high energy food being eaten has also increased. The combination of increased intake of high energy food with less or no exercise leads to a positive energy balance, resulting in the problem like that ones Europe is currently experiencing.


As an example, it only takes a surplus of 120 kcal per day to cause a 5 kg increase of weight per year, so over indulgence can be extremely costly in terms of a child’s health. 0.31 litres of apple juice, a 150 ml milk shake or 35 g gummy bears on top of the daily recommended intake offer an example of how regular over eating can put a child a risk of obesity.


Other factors considered by the report include the changing eating habits of people and families, with more children eating whilst watching TV, and regular meals together with their families, becoming less common. An extended number of people also purchase ready meals and other convenience products, meaning less time is spent preparing meal from fresh produce. Along with the social change the loss of knowledge about food nutrition and the preparation of food is also a significant problem and more children grow up with little knowledge of how to prepare food and cook in the family home.


Attitudes and behaviour are usually developped during childhood and will prevail a lifetime. On that condition chances are very high that a child will stay overweight during it’s whole life. Therefore prevention measures against the massive weight gain among young children gets immensly important. Small children are being cared and catered for in public or private day care facilities. Thus the quality of food and healthy eating habits and manners outside home need to be focused more. Parents, pedagogical and care-taking personnel within the day care facilities can have a crucial influence on the ability of children to eat healthy and keep in mind a health-conscious lifestyle. Projects and other offers for multipliers in the health industry and training measures mainly focus on children in day care facilities (up to the appr. age of 6). Future will reveal whether these efforts are enough to prevent children from becoming overweight.

Tips for reading

Kurth B.-M., Schaffrath Rosario A., Die Verbreitung von Übergewicht und Adipositas bei Kindern und Jugendlichen in Deutschland, Ergebnisse des bundesweiten Kinder- und Jugendgesundheitssurveys (KiGGS) Ernährung 5, 2007:213-219,

International Obesity Task Force (IOTF): Childhood Obesity Report, Mai 2004,

Presentation "Overweight and obesity in children", Prof. Dr. Helmut Heseker, University of Paderborn you find here.


Christiane Hoffmann, University of Paderborn



Healthy diet for children – a subject for professional and further education

On the occasion of three big regional events the German partners presented the project „Child oriented catering“ to the public.


At the „100%-AWO-party“ guests could taste and name different sorts of fruits and vegetables. It was particularly noticeable that many people – adults and children – knew the taste but couldn’t name the fruit or vegetable, told Birgit Kleemann, nutrition scientist at the AWO.


Project coordinator Katrin Schürmann giving an interview for the regional radio station on the open day of Berufsbildungsstätte Westmünsterland
Career fair 2007 at Berufskolleg Lise Meitner. You find a detailed article (in German) about the project presentation here.

LECKER! – Tasty, regional, organic, seasonal and healthy food in environmentally compatible child care structures of the Miselerland/Luxembourg

The Luxembourgian project partner Confédération Caritas Luxembourg combines its project work with the implementation of a regional project that promotes healthy catering in child care institutions.


The strategy was initiated because of the belief that children are becoming increasingly less aware the role of the food chain in creating sustainable societies. They have little knowledge about the regional origins of food and have in many ways lost the connection between nature as a rich supplier of food.


In January 2007, Confédération Caritas Luxembourg and the Oeko-Zenter Lëtzebuerg began the EU LEADER-pilot project “LECKER!” (meaning, Yummy!) with an aim of promoting healthy nutrition in child care structures. Together with three “Maison Relais“, Luxembourgian institutions who provide flexible day care for children from 3 months to 12 years, they will develop and test new concepts for catering. The objective of the project is to promote the use of regional food from the “Lëtzebuerger Musel“ in their catering services.


As contribution to the quality assurance in the Maison Relais, the new catering concept will include the use of food from regional farms on the daily menu, as well as an accompanying pedagogical concept. A broad nutritional education shall help to promote and influence children’s attitude to different types of food during their early childhood.


Children in their daily life are increasingly less aware of nature and the environment and the natural food chain. They have little knowledge about the regional origin of food But they are the basis for a healthy upbringing/growing up and a sustainable development of society.


Besides the regional origin of food, seasonal, organic products and items representing the concept of fair trade will be chosen for the new menus. The hope is that children shall become more aware of regional products such as cultivation, harvest and breeding, and they will also connect their understanding of the 4 seasons by exploring fruits and vegetables that are produced locally. The concept of supporting developing countries through fair trade products will be used to develop their understanding of products such as chocolate and bananas.


Besides healthy catering, there will be a first step towards a concept for in-house environmental protection. Guidelines with practical tips will be provided, with subjects ranging from ecological shopping, waste prevention and saving energy and water.


The results of the development will be practically tested within so called “regional months”. Certain activities and events themed on cooking with products from the region will be offered to children, parents and educators. Food will be prepared according to the menu plan, with the aim of strengthening the consciousness of the target groups. The children’s restaurant of the Maison Relais will become a meeting point to foster the exchange between the producers of food and the parents, families and caterers.



Would you like to know more about the project? Please contact:

Confédération Caritas Luxembourg

Danielle Schronen

Telephone: 00352 402131 – 255


The day care centre mouse (Kita-Maus) – day care centre gets its own role

Nutritional habits of small children are a key concern of the day care centre “Am Loh” of Arbeiterwohlfahrt Ennepe-Ruhr in Schwelm in Germany. The centre has recently expanded its services to reach more families in the community and is working on projects to support a healthy diet for the children they care for.


Many parents buy their children’s breakfast at the local bakery which sold products that were often very sweet or fat. The day care centre decided to work with the bakery and together they invented the “Kita-Maus” (day care centre-mouse).


The Kita-Maus has the shape of a mouse and is made of full grain spelt flour. The “Kita-Mouse” will be sold from the beginning of October with the aim of encouraging healthy breakfasts for children in the community.


But the initiative does not stop there. In order to make the “Kita-Maus” more interesting for the children, one of the educators has written a story about a little mouse named Elly who is cared for by the day care centre children with healthy food. The centre has also promoted the idea in the local press to ensure other children, parents and educators will profit from the initiative.


The purpose of this project is to give educators, employees of the day care centre and parents suggestions for healthy nutrition for children and to show how to support it in early life. Because of this new product the adults have the opportunity to make a clear choice for healthy rolls every day going to the bakery.


Isn’t it a nice project to copy?


The team of the day care centre “Am Loh” is happy to answer any questions you might have! (AWO für Kinder + Familie / Schwelm / Am Loh)


You find the complete story about Elly the Kita-Maus here.


Birgit Kleemann, Arbeiterwohlfahrt Ennepe-Ruhr



Children from the day care centre "Am Loh" with their new role in shape of a mouse and the local baker.

Celebrity chef as comic

The famous british celebrity chief Jamie Oliver becomes the star character in a new show by the creators of Wallace and Grommit.


A recent press release of Aardman Animations has stated that Jamie Oliver will be presented as a 10-year-old cartoon version of himself, called “Little J”, who is on his way to becoming a great chef. He gets support from characters like a depressed ham and a mad scientist named Eggs Benedict.


Jamie Oliver said: "I really want to pass on a little knowledge in a fun way to really connect to the younger kids. I can't tell you how passionate I am about kids and food." At the moment it is planned to make a 52 x 11-minute productions aimed at 7-11 year olds.


Aardman Animations and Jamie Oliver quickly agreed the need to make a show that was first and foremost a comedy but which would also inspire kids to think positively about good food. The series has not been bought by any network yet.


Press release Aardman Animations:


International campaign „5 a day“

The campaign „5 a day“ aims at improving public health by increasing the consumption of fruits and vegatables. Children, teenagers and adults should eat at least 5 portions of a variety fruit and vegetables each day.


„Five a day“ in Great Britain, „5 am Tag“ in Germany, “Obst mal 5” in Austria or „Fukt & grönt varje gång du äter“ in Sweden, every country has its own slogan. Model for these European campaigns is the initiative „5 a day – for better health“ from the National Cancer Institute in the US and Canada that started in the 90ies. There are national „5 a day“-campaigns in all 8 European countries participating in the Leonardo da Vinci project „Child oriented catering“:


Germany: 5 am Tag


Luxembourg: within the campaign “Gesond Iessen Méi Bewegen“


Netherlands: 2+2


Austria: Obst mal 5


Sweden: Fukt & grönt varje gång du äter


Hungary: Hungarian Fruit and Vegetable Board


Great Britain: go for 5 a day


On some of the national websites you can find tips and material for the target group children. You find ideas how to motivate children to eat fruits and vegetables on a regular basis and basic information about the campaigns.



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