Childhood obesity levels are at an all time high, and cardiovascular disease, which begins in childhood, kills four in every ten Irish adults.
Many children have poor diets and are physically inactive, in an environment where healthy choices are difficult to access. Many children and parents do not understand the health significance of their lifestyle choices, while lifestyle-related chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease & stroke are the leading cause of mortality in the world.
David Egan and Ken Boland founded RedBranch to address this lifestyle crisis in Irish children. David is an Exercise Physiologist who has worked with many top Olympic athletes. Ken Boland is a qualified Sport Scientist from the University of Limerick.
Through a combination of education, activism, advocacy and improving access to healthy food and physical activity, the RedBranch team aims to fight passive lifestyle trends. The organisation provides a range of practical and innovative solutions for schools, parents, young people and communities. This has included facilitating the supply of healthy school food, an informational website and improving participation in physical activity.
Since their beginnings in 2003, David and Ken have worked with parents, schools and young people in Ireland on a voluntary basis. They currently work with more than 30 schools across Ireland, and their workshops have been delivered to more than 30,000 Irish youngsters. Their three main projects promote behavioural change in parents, increase awareness of healthy food in schools and help schools to optimise policies and culture to ensure that a healthy lifestyle is promoted.
David was awarded the Ashoka-SEI Fellowship in 2009.
Children are the future of our Nation, and something needs to be done urgently to turn the lifestyle crisis around. We became sick of hearing the results of study after study outlining the issues…with RedBranch, we wanted to break away from this ‘paralysis by analysis’ – to actually make a difference on the ground.
Ken Boland & David Egan