Prevention is key

If we look back over the past century at the Dutch health and welfare, we can say one thing for certain: prevention is key. In the past 150 years, life expectancy in the Netherlands has risen by about 35 years due to prevention. Schools, vaccination programmes, clean drinking water, road safety, good maternity care, environmental laws… the list goes on and on. These things are so well intertwined in our daily life, that we often don’t even realise they’re here to keep us healthy.

However, we’re not there yet. There is still work to do to improve our lifestyle and living environment and become even healthier still. Prevention is pivotal for realising our national central mission on Health and Care – five more years of healthy living and reducing socioeconomic health differences by 30% . Therefore, the first underlying mission is: By 2040, the burden of disease resulting from an unhealthy lifestyle and living environment is decreased by 30%.

But what does this new, healthy environment look like? What role do citizens, knowledge institutions, companies and the government play? Together with Hanneke Molema, consultant at TNO and Management Team Member at LifeStyle4Health, Jochen

Mierau, professor Public Health Economics, and other experts in the field, we envisioned this future. In Chapter 1, they explain how we can make the healthy choice the easy choice and why an integral policy context is therefore crucial.

The start of this future is already here, with innovative and relevant ideas throughout the entire quadruple helix, that cover, many aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Through campaigns and legislations, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment improves our working environment every day. A collaboration with public health organisations keeps an extra eye out for our youth and includes them in all their projects.

By 2040

30% less disease burden due to an unhealthy lifestyle

Top Sector LSH also actively contributes to decreasing the burden of disease resulting from an unhealthy lifestyle and living environment by facilitating innovations. The Top Sector funds multidisciplinary public-private partnerships that contribute to the missions, such as ORANGEHealth.NL. This prevention model for oral healthcare could also be used for general healthcare, says Willem Fokkema, project leader of ORANGEHealth.NL.

We can only realise the missions and keep everyone healthy and happy if we work together. So get a healthy snack, read this Health~Holland update and learn more about our route to a healthy lifestyle!

– Carmen van Vilsteren, Chair of Top Sector LSH, Health~Holland