Healthy food for walkers

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Stichting DE 4DAAGSE, Radboud University Medical Centre and Albron have teamed up to give 4Days Marches participants a varied range of healthy food options to choose from during the event. They are developing a strategy and a plan to support further improvement in the area of healthy eating during the 4Days Marches. This multipartner initiative was submitted to Food Innovation Hub Europe and was one of three winners to be awarded a €30,000 development budget, known as a ‘booster’, at the ceremony on 15 October 2021.

The project builds on a 15-year research partnership between Radboud University Medical Centre’s Physiology department, which is headed by Maria Hopman, and Stichting DE 4DAAGSE, which has in the past already looked at the correlation between walking and a healthy diet. The participation and dedication of food service organisation and 4Days Marches partner Albron guarantees the project’s feasibility.

The 4Days Marches is an annual event that is set to be held for the 104th time in 2022. More than 45,000 participants aged between 12 and 92 will be walking 30, 40 or 50 kilometres every day for four days straight. While participants are generally physically active people and well prepared for this walking challenge, roughly 40% of them are overweight and 8% are obese. Offering healthy and sustainable food that also happens to be tasty and affordable could potentially help this group enormously in adopting a healthier lifestyle and doing even better during the 4Days Marches.

Aside from that, the 4Days Marches can serve as a showcase for healthy food choices during international events, whereby the initiators target a food mindset shift. Maria Hopman, Professor of Physiology, explains: ‘Offering healthy, tasty, sustainable and affordable food at such large-scale events will have a positive impact on people and the planet. The effects may also help raise awareness, which would lead to a considerable reduction in and prevention of excess weight and obesity.’

Jan Willem Hilbron, Managing Director of Albron, says: ‘We are always looking to lead the way in healthy food, including at the 4Days Marches. We are the 4Days Marches’ food partner after all. We relish the opportunity to help walkers make that step towards a healthy and varied diet, especially because this project is also about measuring the results, so that we can learn from it.’

Henny Sackers, Chairman of Stichting DE 4DAAGSE is excited about the initiative: ‘Although the three partners in this initiative have completely different backgrounds, we share the same dream: to help make society and the world around us healthier. By offering healthier and more varied food during the 4Days Marches with the help of our partner Albron on the one hand, and having Radboud University Medical Centre conduct research into the impact of the healthier food on the other, we can do our bit for a healthier society.’

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