with kids
Childhood obesity is the biggest long-term health issue facing European children today. Over three million children in Europe are obese and more than 21 million children are overweight, and this figure is rising significantly each year. For more facts on being overweight and obesity please see the World Health Organization's factsheet, Obesity and Overweight.

To help combat increasing obesity levels, ACTIVE is a new and exciting European project that aims to use animation as tool to educate, entertain and inspire kids aged 5 to 8 to enjoy and adopt a healthier lifestyle by eating sensibly and getting fit.

We have teamed up award winning animators, leading international nutrition and health experts and children's museums to work with groups of children across the EU to create a fun and inspiring animation that will teach children the value of a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and balanced eating.

ACTIVE is the first ever European Commission supported animation project on healthy eating and lifestyles of this scale. In addition, the animated series is accompanied by a teaching pack that will provide teachers and educators with support to teach kids how to be active and have fun at the same time!

Our goal is to create a fun and inspirational series of animations that will encourage children and their families across Europe to eat well, move more and as a result live longer and happier. In these webpages we will document this process.

Come along, enjoy the ride!

Business Solutions Europa - Project Coordination and Communications
Business Solutions Europa is a dynamic EU Projects and Communication agency which aims to bring Europe closer to Europeans through creative communication. Their team of project managers, communications and broadcast specialists has led and coordinated the partnership and the international co-production. Business Solutions Europa is the main contact for questions and follow up with interested stakeholders www.bs-europa.eu
Griffilms - Animation partner
Griffilms has over 15 years' experience in producing high-quality animated programming and graphics and is one of Wales' most successful animation companies. www.griffilms.com
Istituto G. Gaslini - Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity - Content partner
The Giannina Gaslini Institute is one of Italy's leading public research institutes and children's hospitals. Its Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity specializes in cognitive-behavioral theories for the treatment of childhood obesity and works on a number of influential programmes to educate and motivate children to adopt healthy eating and physical activity. www.gaslini.org
Università di Napoli Federico II - Department of Food Science (UNINA) - Content partner
The department of food science at the Napoli Federico II University brings together 40 permanent research experts. UNINA is renowned in the scientific community for its work on food related projects and specializes particularly in the development of functional foods, providing support to companies both in the creation of new products and in the validation of health claims according to latest EU and EFSA recommendations. http://teachserv.unina.it/dipartimenti/index.php?id_servizio=00010073
Explora - Kids Coordinator
Explora - Il museo dei Bambini di Roma is a not-for-profit organization, and the first Italian museum designed primarily for children, school and families. In this child-sized play-town visitors come into contact with facts, phenomena and everyday events on the environment, communication, economy and new technologies. Children are offered the opportunity to discover the mystery of how things function through observation, touch and experiments, all with the help of facilitators. Explora welcomes more than 115.000 visitors each year. www.mdbr.it

ACTIVE also has the kind support of the following organizations:

WHOWorld Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe - www.euro.who.int

EUFICThe European Food Information Council - www.eufic.org

GGallery srl - www.ggallery.it

Fondazione IDIS - Città della Scienza - www.cittadellascienza.it


This project would not be possible without the input of the children themselves. The ACTIVE team has worked with children across several European countries to evaluate the content of the cartoon animation during its entire production phase.

School children between the ages of 5 and 8 from Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain have taken part in focus groups and complete questionnaires to provide the animators with their honest feedback on the characters, concepts and messages. This ‘pedagogic evaluation’ has been coordinated by Explora and local children’s museums in each country. The approach ensures that the final animation resonates with this age range.

Introducing our schools…

Country School Children Museum
Belgium Sint-Romboutscollege, Mechelen Technopolis
Bulgaria 120 osnovno uchilichte "Georgi Stoikov Rakovski", Sofia Artland
Ireland Queen Of Angels Primary School, Dublin Imaginosity
Italy Scuola Elementare statale Ada Tagliacozzo Explora (partner)
Poland Primary School number 12, im. Mariana Batki
Primary School number 173 im. Kosciuszko's Infantry Division
ParkMiniatur S.A
Spain CEIP La Llàntia – Mataró Escola la Llantia

The children and their educators have also worked with the project team to develop and test the teaching pack which gives pupils an opportunity to explore just how to have a healthy lifestyle in more detail, and of course have a little fun too! The teaching pack is available in the Educator section of the My Friend Boo website, www.myfriendboo.com/teachers.html

Read the report on the first questionnaire, the report on the second questionnaire and the report on the third questionnaire

In this section you will find regular news articles and press releases about ACTIVE

Vaikų nutukimas – skaitmeninio amžiaus liga?
My friend Boo. Changing children’s behaviour through fun and games
I nuovi cartoon per promuovere il consumo di frutta e verdura
My Friend Boo l’Europa comunica ai bambini con un cartoon
Un cartone animato contro l'obesità: l'Europa lancia la miniserie
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Encouraging children to eat properly is at times no easy feat. In their eyes, green is boring, breakfast delays the start of the day and sugary snacks just taste better...

BUT eating well is essential for children to grow and develop, to have the energy to have fun and to build the brain-power to learn and achieve at school. Our animations help children to understand the importance of breakfast, eating to 3 meals a day, snacking on healthy and varied snacks (with the occasional treat) and drinking lots and lots of water (not fizzy drinks). Also by encouraging children to eat healthily through the animations we hope to make them more likely to adopt a healthy lifestyle as they get older too.
Our experts have provided a wealth of information to help the animators build their stories and scripts.

Here are their presentations:


Children Obesity

Food Communication

A Healthy Way of Life

Nutrition Education

We are not the only ones working to encourage children to eat more healthily. Here are some other useful sites and information sources:

5 A DAY - www.5aday.nhs.uk
A UK communications programme, supported by the government, that aims to increase awareness of the health benefits of fruit and vegetables, particularly targeting those groups with the lowest intakes such as children
“6 A Day” Campaign - www.6omdagen.dk
The Danish campaign to encourage Danish people to eat at least 6 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. In 2007, the campaign implemented  a nationwide pilot of a school fruit and vegetable program called "Frugtkvarter", meaning Fruitbreak

Fresh Attitude - www.fraichattitude.com
Is a French campaign to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables. Their coin des enfants includes recipes and information for children about foods in season.
5 am tag - www.5amtag-schule.de
Germany’s 5 a day campaign which also includes a dedicated section for schools.
5 al dia - www.5aldia.com
Spain’s 5 a day campaign which also includes a dedicated section for children
Mini-Chefs - http://eu.mini-chefs.eu
A web resource developed by the European Commission and Euro-toques International, the European Chefs' association, which aims to contribute to the fight against child obesity by encouraging healthy eating and cooking.
European Food Information Council (EUFIC) - www.eufic.org/page/en/health-and-lifestyle/healthy-eating/
A non-profit organisation which provides information on food safety & quality and health & nutrition to the media, health and nutrition professionals, educators and opinion leaders, in a way that promotes consumer understanding.
HEPS - http://www.hepseurope.eu/index.cfm
The HEPS project is connected with the Schools for Health in Europe (SHE) network. It has been established to support the SHE-coordinators with initiating and supporting the development of a national school policy on healthy eating and physical activity in their own country.
A project aimed at protecting childhood health through fantasy and play, that will collect information and organize interventions in the kindergartens for children between 3 and 6 years of age. Three countries are involved: Italy, Denmark and Poland
Food Dudes - http://www.fooddudes.co.uk/
a school-based intervention designed for use in primary schools that encourages children to eat fruit and vegetables both at school and at home, helps children develop a liking for fruit and vegetables, encourages children to become proud to think of themselves as healthy eaters and changes the ‘culture’ of a school to one that strongly supports healthy eating

Merendine italiane - www.merendineitaliane.it
Everything you need to know about cakes, biscuits and croissant.
Yoobot - yoobot.co.uk/
Yoobot is a free game and learning tool that the British Heart Foundation has developed to help children think more about the food they are eating and take more responsibility for their own health.

For many children, biking to the school and playing football with friends has given way to watching television, playing video games and spending hours online. It is so important for children to move and it is never too late to get them off the sofa and understand the importance of activities that strengthen their bodies and their minds and have more fun.

Our episode on physical activity shows children that being active can mean so many different things. It is not just about joining a team; children can keep fit and health by doing anything from taking a walk, cycling, climbing, swimming, skateboarding, dancing and even taking the stairs. The important thing is to JUST MOVE!

Here are some useful information sources which help children get active

KIDNETIC - www.kidnetic.com
A cool site for kids who like to play hard and have fun and learn about healthy lifestyles and the importance of keeping fit.
InForm - http://inform.sanicademia.eu/
a EAHC project to develop integrated overweight / obesity prevention and treatment strategies for children and adolescents. Implemented beyond project time in the participating countries, these will contribute to combating the childhood obesity epidemic in Europe.
The EU’s Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health
A forum for actors at European level who can commit their membership to engage in concrete actions designed to contain or reverse current trends.
UNICEF’s Sport for Development - http://www.unicef.org/sports/index.html
UNICEF’s programme to bring attention to sport and play.

FLEX - http://www.unicef.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/IT/IDPagina/218
UNICEF Italy’s FLEX programme for encouraging sport and movement.
Piedibus – A great project in Lecco, Italy that encourages kids to take a ‘foot-bus’ to school.
Each morning a mix of paid staff members and parental volunteers in fluorescent yellow vests lead lines of walking students along Lecco’s twisting streets to the schools’ gates, Pied Piper-style, stopping here and there as their flock expands.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Guidelines for physical activity for children.
Giochi di sempre
An Italian project aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles among children in primary schools
Designed for all kinds of kids, regardless of ability, the Move It Challenge makes physical activity rewarding with a fun points system. Check it out!

One of the main aims of ACTIVE is to ensure that as many children as possible are able to watch the final cartoon animation. We therefore actively welcome broadcaster interest. Below we have already anticipated some common questions you might have. If you have additional questions please do contact us.

Why would ACTIVE be a suitable project for my channel?
This project presents excellent opportunities for broadcasters to:
· Profile their commitment to socially responsible programming.
· Play an active part in raising awareness on healthy eating and healthy lifestyles
· The project is also supported by the European Commission – a worthy accolade.

What are your rates?
As we have been co-funded by the EU’s HEALTH programme we are able to waive the usual acquisition rates for broadcasters. This is a fantastic opportunity for broadcasters and we look forward to discussing this with you.

When will the animation be ready for broadcast?
The completed animation is ready for broadcast. Two eight-minute episodes and one two-minute episode have been produced: ‘Worldenball’, ‘Zeno’s birthday’ and ‘A little bit of everything’. In addition to that, a short video clip is also available www.myfriendboo.com

Can you send me more information/ a screener?
If you would like more information about the project or to find out how you as a broadcaster can get involved then please contact thandi@bs-europa.eu.

Luigi Petito
Project Leader


0032 2 894 96 27
0032 2 894 96 28

Axel Donzelli
Project Management



Siân Hughes
Communication & Media Enquires



Active is supported by the EU's Health programme which aims to generate and disseminate health information and knowledge.
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