This new inter-ministerial program, which is the result of a public-private alliance, aims to transform the habits of the Chilean people, persuading them not only to improve their diet but also to be more active physically and spend more time outdoors and with their families.
The First Lady launched the new Elige Vivir Sano (Choose to Live Healthily) program, in her role as spokesperson for the campaign. The aim of this project, which a number of ministries and public and private services are developing together, is to persuade the people of Chile to lead a healthier life and respect their physical and psychological wellbeing.
The program was launched at the Estrella Reina de Chile School, an establishment which has been exceptional in incorporating healthy life practices into its daily activities.
Why is this initiative necessary?
The statistics show that we do not live healthily today in Chile. According to the National Health Survey 2009-2010, 64.5% of the population aged between 15 and 64 is overweight, and 88.6% of the population has a sedentary lifestyle. This phenomenon most affects the poorest sectors of the population. The overweight figure rises to 76.4% among people with less than eight years of education.
In Chile, more than 7,000 people die every year from cerebrovascular diseases, and more than 7,600 from cardiac circulatory problems.
What are the themes of this program?
Elige Vivir Sano is based on four central themes: healthy diet, physical activity, spending time with the family, and time outdoors. The objective is to persuade the Chilean people to change our habits. This will help our physical and mental development, and in the end will mean that we are happier. “A healthy life not only influences our physical state, it also affects our mood, our relationships with other people and prevents physical and psychological diseases”, said Cecilia Morel, the leader of Elige Vivir Sano.
The launch was attended by the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, and a number of ministers. In October last year the president, together with the Minister of Health, Jaime Mañalich, asked the First Lady to take responsibility for this initiative, which had been under study since the second half of 2010.
Among other Elige Vivir Sano activities, the Government’s healthy lifestyle programs have been re-worked and there are more than 355 initiatives on offer. In addition, a web site (www.eligevivirsano.cl) will be launched as from Sunday, March 20, to provide complete, straightforward information for the public.
Some of the measures
The initiatives which form part of the project include: the accreditation by the Ministry of Health of 147 workplaces as healthy environments in 2010; 62 fairs and exhibitions organized by the Ministry of Agriculture aimed at families in general; an increase of 155,000 in the number of beneficiaries of the programs of the National Institute for Sport, bringing the total to 1,246,000 people by 2014; 100 running races and 100 cycle races this year; the construction of 40 multi-sport centers in three years; and the design and drafting of a tender process for Junaeb.
How much will be invested in Elige Vivir Sano?
Investment this year of Ch$3.6 billion is planned, contributed mainly by the private sector. The companies who have enthusiastically signed up for this original public-private alliance are Quaker, Carozzi, Livean, Unimarc, Jumbo, Mayorista 10, Santa Isabel, Universidad Santo Tomás, VTR and Cachantun.
As the object of this initiative is to modify behavior, this sum will be used for a campaign starting on Sunday, March 20, with sporting events and healthy life activities being organized across the whole of Chile designed to promote this change in habits. This will be independent of the specific programs of each ministry within the framework of Elige Vivir Sano.