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Creating a Healthy Food Environment


Overweight and obesity are on the rise in the Netherlands and around the world. One of the causes is our food environment, where consumers are constantly tempted to choose unhealthy food. There are significant health differences between groups of people, depending on their socio-economic status. This results in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and more pressure on healthcare budgets as a consequence. These healthcare costs will become unsustainable in the future, and solutions to stimulate public health must be found. You will learn more about how we can make the healthy choice the easy choice, and which players this involves. Find out more about the various perspectives on our food environment: the government, the food industry, NGOs, experts and science, and what steps we can take.
Start date
Study duration
20 weeks
Learning path

About the programme

The 20-week programme consists of theory lessons, guest lectures, excursions, and interdisciplinary project work.

Theory and guest lectures
Theory lessons are designed around the food environment and the consumer. You will learn about nutrition and health, and what the term ‘food environment’ means. Lectures on behavioural change will give you insight into various strategies that encourage consumers to make healthier choices. Legislation and labelling lessons look in detail at the information on food packaging. There are assignments linked to all lessons, so you can further familiarise yourself with the material.

Many guest speakers will inspire you and offer insight into their perspective on the food environment. Well-known scientists, the food industry, social organisations, food services, and local or national government authorities explain their role in the food environment and what they can contribute. There is plenty of opportunity for discussion with the speakers during these lectures, so you can gain insight into the interests of various stakeholders and form your own critical opinion about the food environment. A number of excursions are included in the programme.

In addition to the theory lessons, you will spend 20 weeks working in a multidisciplinary group on a project to gradually make the food environment healthier. You will first conduct thorough research into the food environment, then devise a strategy to improve it so that consumers can eat more healthily. This strategy is presented to the client and lecturers at the end of the programme.

The projects vary per year. Some examples of projects:

  • Design a supermarket (e-store) of the future to help consumers make healthy choices;
  • Introduce healthy school lunches at primary schools, hospitals or other healthcare facilities;
  • Develop a pre-test for food companies to avoid misleading labels;
  • Encourage pupils in primary schools to drink water;
  • Investigate the amount of fat and calories in pizzas from different pizza chains;
  • Design a campus for the future.

Learning goals

You will learn how to:

  1. adopt a critical, nuanced and substantiated point of view about the underlying causes of unhealthy food environments;
  2. develop an effective strategy that leads to a healthier food environment, enabling consumers to eat more healthily, and;
  3. consider the interests of the various relevant stakeholders, such as the food industry, government authorities, consumers, and NGOs.

Admission requirements

  • Completed Higher Professional Education (hbo) propaedeutic year and at least 40 credits from the 2nd year.
  • Basic knowledge of nutrition and health is recommended but not mandatory. Any specific knowlege gaps can be discussed in advance and additional teaching materials will be made available.

How to apply as an exchange student

If you want to apply for this programme please click here for information on the procedure.

Want to know more about exchange?

More info about exchange to the Netherlands, studying at HAS green academy and living in the Netherlands, can be found on our special Study at HAS page.

Study at HAS


  • 's-Hertogenbosch

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