Healthy development and growth during the first 1000 days depend on several different factors and stakeholders. Problems that arise during this time are often complex and dynamic, this means that there is not one straightforward solution to prevent these problems.
That is why we started Systems Science in 2020. With the help of Systems Science we examine how different elements within a system influence each other. Instead of looking at - and responding to - individual problems, we look at the relationships and dynamics between different activities within a system. We look at patterns over time and underlying mechanisms and starting points for sustainable and structural changes.
An iceberg is a powerful metaphor for "systems thinking". Systems are like large icebergs. Only the tip of the iceberg is visible, about 90% of the iceberg is underwater and largely determines how the iceberg develops, and how it moves in relation to the flow and speed with which the ice melts or grows.
By focusing, within Food4Smiles, on the entire system during the first 1000 days of life of children in New West, we obtain additional and innovative knowledge. That way we can increase the impact and sustainability of actions aimed at a healthy start.
Systems Science is increasingly used for health science issues, but much is still unclear. Together with a group of national and international experts, we are currently writing a plan of action for the best use of Systems Science within Food4Smiles.
Read more about a system approach in this Dutch article ‘De oorzaak van onderconsumptie groente en fruit is complex’ on Voeding NU
Contribute to a healthy start for a growing number of children.