Robust public health helps to prevent and reduce disease. A healthy lifestyle in a healthy environment is crucial to achieving this aim. RIVM’s Centre for Prevention, Lifestyle and Health (PLG) specialises in this field. It is a place where experts on healthy nutrition, food safety and sustainability, physical activity, behaviour, life-course issues and occupation all work together. On this page, you can read more about PLG’s work.

Effective health improvement

Our experts combine information form scientific research with policy and practice. They do so as part of a large network of knowledge institutions and professionals, within and outside RIVM and at  local, national and international levels. This yields new insights and recommendations for use by policymakers and healthcare professionals. The overall objective is to improve the health of the Dutch population as effectively as possible.

Focus areas:

Life-course issues

In the years ahead, the amount of formal and informal care available for senior citizens will decrease. What factors – associated with our lifestyle, medical condition and environment – will help us remain healthy and active as we grow older? RIVM has conducted research into this issue for over 30 years.

Sports and physical activity

Everybody knows that physical activity is healthy, but how physically active are we in the Netherlands? Which factors help us in this regard, and which do not? What changes are we witnessing in society and what is the potential impact of sports and physical activity policy on public health and social participation? Visit our website

Healthy and sustainable food

What do we eat and drink, and what effects does this have on the nutrients in our bodies? And on our overall health? What is the environmental burden of the food we eat? And how can we encourage people in the Netherlands to eat healthier and more sustainable food? For more information, visit Food and Nutrition | RIVM.

Chemical food safety

The safety of our food is determined, among other things, by the chemicals it contains. We use our knowledge to help assess risks and develop ways of improving our ability to do so. We also support government bodies by providing policy recommendations. In this way, we contribute to improving food safety in the Netherlands and across Europe. For more information on chemicals in food (Food and Safety | RIVM).

Behaviour and health

Knowing that something is healthy does not necessarily mean that we behave accordingly. Sometimes this depends on the choices we make, or on factors in our social and physical environment. We conduct research into behaviour and health to find ways of supporting certain types of behaviour in our daily and working lives. The aim is to improve the mental, social and physical health of the workforce and of the population in general. This concerns issues such as practising and promoting healthy behaviour at work, the pros and cons of vaccination, promoting physical activity, giving up smoking, the use of (work-related) care services and compliance with measures to fight infectious diseases, such as testing and social distancing. For more information: Behavioural science | RIVM and Sustainable employability | RIVM (in Dutch).

Healthy lifestyle

RIVM aims to promote a healthy lifestyle and a healthy environment for all people in the Netherlands. We support policymakers and professionals at municipalities, Municipal Public Health Services, schools, childcare facilities and healthcare institutions by providing practical knowledge, tools and accredited lifestyle interventions to improve human health. We create this knowledge by combining science, data and professional practice. The underlying principle is an integrated approach and the use of accredited interventions. We share our knowledge on Loketgezondleven, Gezondekinderopvang, Gezondeschool and Gezondeleefomgeving (all in Dutch).

Who is it for?

PLG mainly advises and alerts policymakers at government ministries and municipalities. In addition, a range of healthcare professionals – Municipal Public Health Services staff, sports and nutrition experts, childcare workers and teachers – use our knowledge (synthesis) on a daily basis. The ultimate objective is to improve and strengthen public health in the Netherlands.

Who do we work with?

PLG works closely with research universities, universities of applied sciences and other knowledge partners in the Netherlands and abroad. The societal relevance of our work is manifest in our participation in a large network of umbrella organisations, professional associations, government bodies, consumers’ and patients’ groups and other civil-society organisations, including:

And specialised institutes such as:

Who are we?

The head of the Centre for Prevention, Lifestyle and Health (PLG) is Annelies Dijk-Stroeve.

The Centre consists of five departments, each with its own department head:

  • Behaviour and Health (G&G) – Marleen Bink
  • Healthy Lifestyle (GZL) – Marian Sturkenboom
  • Life-course Issues, Lifestyle and Health (LLG) – Wanda Wendel-Vos
  • Healthy and Sustainable Food (GDV) – Marnelle Commandeur
  • Chemical Food Safety (CVV) – Sandra Martena


If you have any questions about the Centre for Prevention, Lifestyle and Health, please contact