Lifestyle interventions

How people live, and where, can have a significant influence on their health. There are many organizations in the Netherlands which work to improve public health. They provide advice intended to encourage people to adopt a more healthy lifestyle, and devise measures to help them do so. These measures are known as ‘lifestyle interventions’. Many lifestyle interventions are based on the results of health surveys and screenings.

What RIVM does

In the case of many lifestyle interventions, it remains unclear whether they actually work in practice. To gain a better understanding of their effectiveness, RIVM has established an ‘accreditation system’ in association with the Netherlands Youth Institute (NJi) and the Netherlands Youth Health Services Centre (NCJ). Interventions are assessed by an independent committee which determines whether they are effective and, if so, to what extent. In addition, health care professionals are invited to assess whether the intervention is described clearly enough to enable it to be implemented by their colleagues.I-database

Intervention Database

RIVM records information pertaining to the quality and effectiveness of interventions in the Intervention Database, referred to as the ‘I Database’. Information about all lifestyle interventions currently in use in the Netherlands can be accessed by professionals from municipal health departments, local mental health services, domiciliary care organizations, sports services, etc. The database is clearly organized and enables users to search the interventions according to various criteria, such as target group, setting (e.g. neighbourhood, school or workplace) or health topic.

Support

Alongside detailed information about lifestyle interventions, RIVM also offers practical support to help professionals promote public health. We have a Service Desk which will answer questions from the field, and we have set up online networks which enable professionals to share their knowledge and experience. RIVM organizes regional conferences and retains the services of experts to help the field manage complex issues. Other forms of practical support include publications such as guidelines, brochures and summaries, all of which help professionals to implement the interventions quickly and easily.

Research

Although RIVM itself conducts very little direct research into lifestyle interventions, we do collect, collate and validate knowledge (both scientific and practical) about lifestyle interventions. Several RIVM centres are involved in this process.

Cooperation

Under the motto ‘for and by professionals’, RIVM works with various other national institutes to promote lifestyle interventions. Our partners include Consument en Veiligheid (Consumer and Safety), the Netherlands Institute for Sport and Physical Activity (NISB), the Rutgers World Population Foundation, STI Aids Netherlands, the Schorer Foundation, Stivoro, the Trimbos Institute, the Netherlands Nutrition Centre, and several local and regional organizations.

More information about lifestyle interventions on the Centre for Healthy living website

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