Som la pera

   Som la pera (literal translation is ‘we are the pear’ with the meaning ‘we are cool’); Reus, Spain

Key message – Join the challenges designed by young people to increase physical activity and consumption of fruits and vegetables

Challenge – Obesity is an important global public health problem, with well documented long-term consequences. In Europe, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is 19–49 % in boys and 18–43 % in girls, whereas the obesity prevalence is 6–26.6 % in boys and 5–17 % in girls. In developed countries, obesity is related to socioeconomic status: obesity rates follow a social gradient in which the highest rates are present in racial/ethnic minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. Once obesity is established, it is difficult to treat, highlighting the urgent need for successful strategies and policies to revert trends in weight gain, sedentary lifestyles and inadequate nutritional habits, especially in vulnerable youth populations. The improvement of healthy lifestyles through modification of eating habits, daily physical activity practice and avoiding sedentary behaviour are the principle modifications that can prevent or reduce the risk of obesity.

Insight – Nutrition and healthy lifestyle education for adolescents have to be planned differently than for other educational ages because the cognitive and social developmental processes. Social marketing, when it is conscientiously applied, has been identified as a possible strategy to change behaviours. School is a suitable environment to implement health promotion in adolescent population. 

Solution – The Som la Pera intervention is a school cluster randomised controlled trial. 5 adolescents (3 from one high school and 2 from another one), were recruited as Adolescent Challenge Creators (ACCs), and worked with Physicians, Nutritionists, Managers and Publicists and Journalists from the CTNS-Technology Centre of Nutrition and Health and the URV-University Rovira i Virgili to design and implement challenges such as gymkhanas,  cooking ability and lifestyle knowledge competitions, pop-up events as healthy cooking contests, participation in science fairs, cooking contest inside central market. The 5 ACCs had also to be in touch with community stakeholders to obtain some resources free of charge. The expected primary outcomes from the Spanish intervention will be the increase in the consumption of fruits and vegetables and physical activity practice alongside with reductions in TV/computer/game console use. The secondary outcomes will be increased breakfast consumption, engagement with local recreation and reduced obesity prevalence.

Impact – Som la pera was spread via a Facebook page and an Instagram account, where the ACCs posted tips, challenges and images promoting healthy habits. The campaign was scientifically designed as a randomized controlled clinical trial to get robust results about its effectiveness that will be used by the team to scale-up the intervention jointly with local and regional stakeholders that have supported and applauded the initiative.  

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