Nutritious food plus a culture of sound mental and physical health for middle school students in Milan

June 2019


Health & Life science

The initiative

“Cuore di Zuppa goes to Middle School” will be running a series of educational actions for a healthy life style designed for young middle school students (11 to 14 year olds). The primary objective of “Cuore di Zuppa” (At the Heart of Soup) is to help young people to focus on and learn more about health matters, backing correct information and good habits to prevent and fight illnesses with high social and economic impact (diabetes, obesity, and heart and breathing disfunctions). Alongside food, the initiative focuses on giving young people a blanket overview of their mental and physical wellbeing and, through nutrition, learn to love physical activity.
Workshops and sports sessions can help youngsters to recognise the types of behaviour that harms their health, pointing them towards routines that are good for their minds and bodies. Socially fragile young people will be given extra care, as will families, teachers and the educational community. Milan is a multi-ethnical city, and the project intends to promote integration through food and eating habits, to encourage welcoming and sharing dynamics.

The role of the Foundation

Fondazione Politecnico di Milano is a partner in the initiative

Technical details

The project is co-funded through funds from Law 285/97 within the 7th Plan for Infancy and Adolescence (VII Piano Infanzia e Adolescenza) set up by the City of Milan, and is managed by a network of bodies, associations and trusts: Associazione Cuore e Parole Onlus (lead partner), Associazione LiberaMente ODV, the social cooperative Farsi Prossimo ONLUS, Società Canottieri Milano, Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, under the direction of the City of Milan – Area Domiciliarità e Cultura della Salute. The planning process is based on data and feedback from the original “Cuore di Zuppa” project designed for very young children and primary school pupils, ensuring the high quality of this new initiative. Driven by the need to fight trends that still highlight scarce care for health and wellbeing, the project will undertake a series of actions, setting up school-based workshops to teach youngsters about good practice, producing information about the right type and level of physical activity and good eating and hygiene habits, as well as running exercise schemes in specific locations, and creating a special centre for the prevention and treatment of food disorders and the serious illnesses linked to these.

First results

The meetings, sports activities and 24/7 chat line to answer questions from parents and teachers have helped to spread good information to fight incorrect lifestyles among teens and pre-teens. Over fifty 7 to 15 year olds, referred by local bodies and our partners, attended the summer camps held at the Società Canottieri Milano, experiencing the benefits of sport in the context of excellent social integration. We ran over 30 intercultural sports and educational workshops, extending the project across the local area. Lastly, we held a series of courses and workshops superficially targeted to the needs of the schools involved, as well as circuiting educational messages through our own and our partners’ channels of communication, and via newspapers, blogs and educational platforms.

Financial supporters

The project is co-funded through funds from Law 285/97 within the 7th Plan for Infancy and Adolescence (VII Piano Infanzia e Adolescenza) set up by the City of Milan.