This afternoon, Dr. Valentín Fuster and Pau Gasol presented the beginning of a collaborative venture between their Foundations, the Gasol Foundation and the SHE Foundation, in a long-term pioneering initiative whose aim is to promote healthy habits among children and young people.
For Dr. Fuster, ‘the brothers Paul and Marc Gasol are clear examples of how motivation – a fundamental factor in changing behaviour or habits – and effort are essential if people want to achieve the objectives they have set themselves’; they are also important role models for boys and girls.
Paul Gasol says: ‘the number of overweight and obese children and young people continues to increase and we have to be aware of the damage this will mean for their development as adults. If we can help children acquire healthy habits, we will be giving them the tools to become healthy adults. The scientific basis of the SI! Programme was a key issue in our decision to join in with the work that Dr. Fuster and the scientific team at the SHE Foundation are doing in schools’.
The Gasol Foundation in the SI! Programme
This collaboration is starting with the SI! Programme, a school intervention programme of the Foundation headed by Dr. Valentín Fuster which works under the following hypothesis: ‘The childhood acquisition of healthy habits reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and improves the quality of life for adults.
The SI! Programme, which is being implemented in more than 150 schools across Spain and in which 35,000 children are involved, should have an influence on the understanding, attitudes and habits concerning the health of children, their families and teachers. It was launched in infant and primary schools in 2009, with very promising results.
The involvement of the Gasol Foundation in this project is helping with the development of materials required for the educational stages of adolescence, a difficult but crucial period. Adolescents have reached a stage where they are beginning to take independent decisions and to tackle on an individual basis the problems they encounter in life, with less intervention from their families.
A long-term collaboration with an international vision
Although the activity associated with the collaboration between the SHE Foundation and the Gasol Foundation is taking place initially within the framework of the SI! Programme in Spain, the intention is to expand it to other countries.
This is the case with the Foundation SHE’s new project in New York. A scientific study involving approximately 600 boys and girls in 6 schools in the neighbourhood of Harlem, New York, will take place during the school year 2015/2016.
In this new intervention project, Pau and Marc Gasol are particularly appropriate as role models for the parents of these schoolchildren, a very young community on which the Gasol brothers can exert a positive influence as examples of an active lifestyle.
In addition, beginning in 2015, the SHE and Gasol Foundations intend to roll out a number of awareness-raising actions in the community, which should increase awareness of the need to have an active life and how this can result in an improvement in everyone’s health.
Cardiovascular disease remains the main cause of death by illness in Spain, with 31.7% of cases, higher than other illnesses such as cancer (26.9%) and respiratory disease (11.4%). Experts agree that the only way to stop the spread of cardiovascular disease is to change people’s lifestyles and raise awareness of the need to encourage healthy habits.