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Generation Healthy Kids

In Denmark, the prevalence of overweight and obesity increases from 13 % to 18 % during early school years and reaches 51 % in the adult population. The negative acute and long-term consequences on individual physical and mental health as well as societal costs are clear. Efficient counter measures must be established, and a likely important strategy is to prevent excessive gain of fat mass in primary school children.

This fostered the idea of the Generation Heathy Kids research project. The project is conducted by four closely collaborating research institutions: 1) University of Copenhagen, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, 2) University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, 3) Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, and 4) University of Southern Denmark, National Institute of Public Health.



The aim of Generation Healthy Kids is to promote a healthy weight, development and well-being among children aged 6-9. Furthermore, the project aims to counteract social inequality in health.

The project is rooted in co-creation and a system thinking approach, taking the complexity of the development of overweight into consideration. The intervention content will be based on existing evidence and co-creation processes with all actors around the children: family, school, after school club, leisure time activities, the municipality, supermarkets, restaurants, etc. A coordinated and multi-component intervention focusing on diet, physical activity, sleep, screen habits and well-being will be developed. The intervention will combine pedagogical and teaching activities for children and families with initiatives promoting healthy structures and activities supporting sense of community.

The project will invite a broad range of national and local actors who wish to support a generation of healthy children to take part in the project.


The core of the program is a cluster-randomized controlled two-year trial. In total, 24 clusters (local communities) are enrolled. The intervention effect is explored by comparing children from 12 intervention schools to children from 12 control schools (1. and 2. grade at trial start).


A number of physiological, cardio-metabolic, behavioral, cognitive, motoric, mental, well-being and process-related outcomes are explored.


The National Institute of Public Health is lead on the project process evaluation. In this evaluation, methods as fieldwork, qualitative interviews, questionnaires, and document analyses will be used, and many actors, e.g., children, parents, teachers, and school principals, will be included.


Project period

The project is initiated in May 2022 and will be completed in April 2026.

During the initial phase from May 2022 to December 2022, a coordinated and multicomponent intervention is developed in collaboration with a range of stakeholders.

In January and February 2023, a pilot study will be conducted in two municipalities.

From September 2023 to June 2025, a cluster-randomized intervention study will be conducted.


Collaboration and funding

The project is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and is conducted in collaboration with three other Danish research institutions: University of Copenhagen, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports; University of Southern Denmark, Department of Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics; and Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Center for Clinical Research and Prevention.

Last Updated 19.10.2023