Youth, Health and Nutrition chair kicks off

october 27, 2019

During this year’s edition of the Dutch Food Week, Edgar van Mil and Dr. Remco Havermans were introduced as the extraordinary professors leading the “Youth, Health and Nutrition” program at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering in Venlo. Their base of operations will be the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo.

The Youth, Nutrition and Health chair was featured during a special presentation on the opening day of the Dutch Food Week on October 4 in Venlo. Dr. Remco Havermans told his story as he strolled down the catwalk, while Dr. Edgar van Mil addressed the hundreds of guests attending the event at the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo in a livestream broadcast from the hospital in Den Bosch. And yes, it will be not one but two extraordinary professors who will fill the chair. The first common denominator is their passion for the field, which really came alive during the presentation. 

The themes that will be addressed within the scope of the new chair are healthy nutrition and its effect on the body, psychological know-how, marketing and the development of new products. The new chair is a full-time program and has been made possible by investments from the business community: Scelta Mushrooms, ZON fruit & vegetables, BASF, Seacon Logistics and regional Rabobank offices. Kids University for Cooking will be participating as a field lab with educational nutrition programs for children. Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo serves as the home base for the “Youth, Health and Nutrition” chair.

Jan Klerken of Scelta Mushrooms is the driving force behind the efforts. “The unique aspect of this chair lies in the combination of multidisciplinary research and business. This leads to unique knowledge which is very valuable. We hope that this chair will enable us to work together to ensure that future generations consciously make healthier food choices from a young age. Two professors with a tremendous track record are going to be working on the chair.”

Remco Havermans

Remco Havermans (1974) is a university professor and works at the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Maastricht University. He has been working at the Venlo Campus of Maastricht University's Faculty of Science and Engineering since 2017 where he conducts research on the psychology of food.

Havermans is the founder and research leader of the Laboratory of Behavioural Gastronomy of the Healthy Eating and Food Innovation’s research center. His area of expertise is the psychology of eating: why do we eat what we eat?  The emphasis in his research is on taste experience (perception and appreciation) and eating habits (food intake and food choice). “Together, we are a great pair for this program. I focus on behavior; how can we influence it? If we succeed in changing behavior, Edgar can apply his expertise as a pediatrician and endocrinologist to take practical measurements to determine whether these healthier choices actually have a positive impact on health.”

Edgar van Mil

Edgar van Mil (1969) is a pediatrician and endocrinologist specializing in hormonal illnesses, diabetes, growth disorders and obesity, and works at the pediatrics ward of the Jeroen Bosch Hospital in Den Bosch.

Van Mil is the co-author of the guide Overgewicht en obesitas bij kinderen (Excess weight and obesity in children) in which he advocates networked medicine for tackling obesity, in which it is not only the doctor who supports the family in living a healthy lifestyle, but everyone who is involved with the child. This book presents the vision of the national chain approach for overweight and obese children that was introduced in 2018. Van Mil is also the founder of the Obesity Lifestyle Intervention Centre, the expertise center for overweight children, at the Jeroen Bosch Hospital. “We are facing a great challenge in today’s world. An unhealthy lifestyle including irresponsible dietary choices is increasing the burden of disease among the population. The focus is on young people in order to teach them healthy dietary habits from a young age. This requires an understanding of the effect of food on health.”

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