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GoCo Health Innovation City continues to build its programme for health innovation

Lena Hallengren, Minister of Social Affairs and Carolina Klüft, Operations Manager at Generation PEP began the day on which collaboration for physical activity among children was on the agenda.

GoCo Health Innovation City with its platform GoCo Arena has in less than a year developed into a meeting place for the life science industry with a collaborative program for the future of health. Last Friday, the business sector, academia and representatives from the government authorities and public sector gathered to discuss physical activity among children and young people. Reports show that children spend too much time sitting still and the consequences are significant to their physical and mental health.

Lena Hallengren, Minister of Social Affairs, started the day talking about the political initiatives being taken and pointed out the importance of an even strengthened dialogue between organisations, businesses and state authorities.

Many efforts are made on both local and at a national level to address challenges such as lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating habits, but there is plenty more that can be done. An organisation that really shows evidence of this is Generation PEP, a part of the Swedish Crown Princess Couple's Foundation. Led by former elite athlete Carolina Klüft, the organisation is working to give children and young people the opportunity and will to live active and healthy lives.

"The commitment is bubbling out there," Carolina says, "But we need to do more. For example, reports indicate that less than two out of ten children get 60 minutes of physical activity every day, which means that far too few children get a sufficient amount of daily exercise."

Carolina Klüft means that the holistic perspective is a key to making things happen and to create long-term effects.

"There is no quick-fix or just one solution addressing this matter, the society as a whole must come together and take preventive actions on an individual-based level. If I were to wish anything, it would be a call for a more pronounced plan of action from politicians but this is a complex matter.

"I believe we should all lower the threshold from insight to action. There are great initiatives taking place around the country illustrating that everyone can contribute in their own kind of way," adds Carolina.

Several best practices were presented during the day, which showed an enormous engagement in the region. Mats Börjesson, Professor and Chief Physician at Sahlgrenska Academy and Director of CHP, Center for Health and Performance also presented research showing the positive effects physical activity has on children and how we, already at a young age, lay the foundation for a healthy life. There is a clear link between establishing healthy habits at an early age and continued good health later on in life.

Matti Lejon, Project manager at Generation Pep, followed up by talking about how we turn all this knowledge into action.

"The big challenge lies in implementing everything we know. We need to join forces and review both information initiatives, health-promoting urban planning and encouraging public health from various approaches," he says.

A recurring word during the day was cooperation. Sometimes you do not always have to reinvent the wheel but meet and learn from each other. Something that the GoCo Arena is all about.

"We had a fantastic inspiring and rewarding day at GoCo Arena. Cross-collaboration is a visible key in order to create real impact. To bring different worlds, fields and people together to share knowledge and favour partnership for a healthier future, that is what the GoCo Arena platform is all about," says Marie Uddenmyr, Community Manager GoCo Health Innovation City.

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