A long and healthy life for all is social responsibility

A long and healthy life in the Netherlands is strongly related to individual’s social position. People with a high socioeconomic status live on average 15 years longer in good health than those who are less well off. Preventing health problems is an important spearhead for policy to reduce this health gap. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle is central to this. This only succeeds when all factors of influence are taken into account. Important in this is the entire living environment: from school to supermarket, workplace and the design of the public domain.

This is what professor Ien van de Goor advocates in her inaugural lecture ’Prevention revisited, healthy behavior requires a healthy living environment’. She will deliver her speech on Friday, July 7, in the auditorium of Tilburg University.

Complexity of prevention

Health problems and chronic conditions often have a diversity of causes and related factors. Thus, in addition to individual factors, social and environmental factors play an important role. In addition to early detection, prevention should focus on finding and solving the underlying causes of health problems. For an integral, cross-domain approach to obesity, for example, it is important to consider, in addition to an individual-oriented approach, how a healthier food supply can be achieved in the supermarket, in schools, at work and in the public domain. Or how our social and physical environment can stimulate exercise. In addition to individual prevention, measures are therefore needed that contribute to a healthier living environment, so that it becomes easier for everyone to make the healthy choice.

Required knowledge

Ien van de Goor: "An integral, cross-domain approach in prevention requires knowledge developed in co-creation between policy, practice and research. A sustainable knowledge infrastructure with local, regional and national connections is an essential precondition for this. Knowledge can thus better stick, be made accessible and shared, thus providing local and regional public health care with a solid knowledge base. In the coming period, steps will be taken to further build such a knowledge network in Brabant, in which, in co-creation with the partners in the Academic Workshop Public Health Brabant, we conduct research that can strengthen local public health."

About Ien van de Goor

Ien van de Goor (1960) studied Health Sciences in Maastricht where she received her PhD from the Department of Medical Sociology of the Faculty of Health Sciences (merged into Faculty of Health, Medicine and Lifesciences) on the topic Situational aspects of adolescent drinking behavior (1990).Van de Goor has expertise in public health, prevention and health promotion, evaluation of complex interventions, implementation research and evidence-informed Public Health policy and practice.Previously (2010-2020), she held a special chair in the area of the Effectiveness of Individual Prevention.Her particular interest is in bridging the gap between research, policy and practice. She gained extensive experience in this, including as Program Leader of the Academic Workshop Public Health Brabant at Tranzo, the scientific center for care and welfare of the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.