All social indicators on the situation of children in Catalonia and Spain show a reality marked by the increase of children's vulnerability. One of the most affected groups by the economic crisis of the recent years are children. The cause is the lack of access to basic goods (food and education) and going though serious family situations. Poverty and social exclusion in Catalonia stood at 19.4% in 2017 *.
The eating habits of the most vulnerable families have also been modified, giving priority access to the price of food over the nutritional quality.
One of the consequences is the high rate of overweight and childhood obesity present in our country. According to a 2018 health survey in Catalonia (ESCA), 35.6 % of children from 6 to 12 years are overweight (25.0 % overweight and 10.6 % suffering obesity). These data are very important because obesity and overweight during the infant stage suppose a high risk of developing overweight in adulthood.
Aware of this situation, in 2012 the Probitas Foundation launches the Child Nutrition Support Program (RAI, acronym in Spanish) in order to promote a healthy development of the most vulnerable children and youth within the physical, mental and emotional environment.
With this aim, the program offers an integral support with nutritional, socio-educational and psychosocial resources for the health care of children in social exclusion. The RAI program was born with the aim to provide a healthy growth the most vulnerable children and adolescents, intervening on to a global vision of welfare, health and the fight against deficiencies that go along with poverty situations and social exclusion.
This is a complementary program to the actions already undertaken by the public administration, making the criteria of proximity and flexibility , while networking with different social agents.
To do it possible the program develops 3 components:
Whose goal is to ensure at least one nutritious meal per day for the most vulnerable children in their school canteens.
Which provides socially at-risk minors with educational and leisure activities, as well as a hot meal every day in a space of social protection.
Which seeks to promote a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating in at-risk children through extracurricular activities, workshops and at-school training
Since 2012 the program has grown, in terms of intervention in more areas and targeting more beneficiaries. Currently the RAI program is present in Catalonia, Madrid and Murcia, reaching 29 municipalities and more than 10,000 beneficiaries in 2015.
The main objective is to support vulnerable children wherever they are, with the purpose of social transformation through the transfer of resources, experience and knowledge.
*According to AROPE Living Conditions National Statistics Institute ( INE ) .