Conducted by nutritionists, psychologists, and physical-fitness trainers, this project helps women achieve greater well-being through sound nutrition and physical exercise. Pregnant women and new mothers are a special focus, because during pregnancy and after childbirth women’s bodies have special needs, and learning how to adapt to and manage them is vital to the health of both women and their babies.
But this project’s benefits for all women can be far-reaching, because the feeling of wellness can make dealing with some of life’s problems easier every day. And, what mothers learn about nutrition directly benefits all family members.
For women living in poverty, overweight and obesity caused by bad dietary habits and lack of physical exercise are a serious risk, and indeed, they are serious public health problems. Women who lack knowledge of good nutrition can make unhealthy choices when they plan meals and shop for food. Mothers, burdened and distracted, may not establish regular mealtimes for their children. Some mothers overfeed themselves and their children as a way to manage anxieties.
The nutritionist helps mothers learn how to plan meals that provide a healthy, varied, balanced diet for their families. They learn how to select nutritious, affordable foods when they grocery shop, and how to prepare simple, delicious, healthy meals. They also learn techniques for establishing sensible mealtimes and eating patterns for their children.
The physical-fitness trainer guides women through group exercises that help them develop more physical strength, flexibility, and confidence in their bodies. We also stress the importance of spending time outdoors, in fresh air and sunshine.
Key to the success of these activities is the welcoming emotional setting that our professionals create. Without fear of being judged, women can freely discuss matters related to their bodies and the challenges of childrearing. The feeling that they are listened to, understood, and supported helps encourage and motivate them to develop – and sustain – a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their families.
The project “Alternative care pathways” is funded by Fondazione Banco di Napoli.