According to the National Health and Nutrition Plan, nearly 15% of children aged 6 to 11 years are overweight, and the probability of this increases significantly for children from poor homes. Statistics show that the son of a manual worker is six times more likely to be overweight than the son of an executive. And half of these children who are obese at age six, will remain so as adults and will run the consequent health risks (e.g. heart disease), social risks (discrimination and exclusion) and economic risks (high healthcare bills).
To combat this modern disease, Unis-Cité launched a new national program in 2011, which it will pilot-test in the towns of Mantes la Jolie, Juvisy and Valenciennes. In each of these three towns, 8 young volunteers doing civic service made contact with children in the schools, with the support of local players, in order to explain the importance of a balanced diet and the regular practice of sport. Games, physical activities and taste discovery workshops will be run by these volunteers, so that the children can become responsible for their own health, and especially to pass on the message to their own families about the importance of healthy eating. Certain of these activities will be carried out in collaboration with Carrefour employees, which will be a way of showing the young people some of the various vocations within the mass retail industry. The volunteers will also take part in the annual large-scale collections of food donations organised by the stores every winter for the Food Banks and Restos du Cœur.