iGrow Launch Meeting

The Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation introduces iGrow application to parents in Turkey for first time, after the Netherlands. iGrow tracks child development for healthy generations

The Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation strives to enlighten the public with scientifically proven information on healthy living and nutrition. It is now introducing a guiding mobile application for parents.
The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) has developed the iGrow mobile application, and it is currently in use only in the Netherlands. The Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation has brought it to Turkey by localizing the application and customizing its content for Turkish people. iGrow tracks children's physical development, providing daily recommendations to parents and making a huge contribution to raising healthy generations.
The Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation launched iGrow Turkey during the European Obesity Summit, one of the world's most prominent health and science events, in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 1-4.
The meeting was held with the participation of Begüm Mutuş, General Manager of the Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation; Tanju Besler, M.D., Professor, Science Committee Member of the Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation; and Sühendan Adıgüzel van Zoelen, M.D., Specialist, Turkey Business Development Manager of the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research.




Being overweight in childhood, living a sedentary lifestyle, and being obese are considered the era's biggest health problems, and they are on the whole world's agenda. It is believed that these problems alter the quality of life at later ages, playing a crucial role in the onset of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Thus, it is vital to keep the course of child development under control and provide proper guidance and advice to parents. In keeping with this vision, the Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation has brought the iGrow application to Turkey by localizing its content in Turkish for the first time, after the Netherlands. Developed by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, the application records a child's development and provides analyses based on standards.

The press meeting was held during the European Obesity Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 1-4 with the participation of Begüm Mutuş, General Manager of the Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation; Tanju Besler, M.D., Professor, Science Committee Member of the Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation; and Sühendan Adıgüzel van Zoelen, M.D., Specialist, Turkey Business Development Manager of the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research.

Begüm Mutuş, General Manager of the Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation, spoke at the press conference for the iGrow mobile application, which has been completely customized in Turkish for the eating habits of Turkish people. "The Sabri Ulker Food Research Foundation strives to present the Turkish public with accurate, reliable, and scientific information on food and nutrition, and to raise and spread awareness about it. We believe it is important to prevent, at an early age, such habits as insufficient and unbalanced nutrition, and lack of physical activity that lead to obesity and many other diseases, and to replace them with correct behaviors," she said.

Mutuş emphasized childhood as a time to learn the right habits. "That's why it's the children we move forward with. With iGrow, we aim to create awareness in families about the development of adolescent children and present families and the public with reliable and scientific information on habits such as daily nutrition, physical activity, and frequency of sleep."

In Turkey and worldwide, children are becoming obese

Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation Science Committee Member Tanju Besler, M.D., Professor, who is coordinating the adaptation of iGrow for Turkey, stressed how education at an early age has an impact on learning and keeping balanced and healthy living habits. Besler expressed the importance of the awareness efforts in Turkey and highlighted the need for an urgent action plan regarding the lack of physical activity, especially among adolescents, children, and obesity.

Professor Besler stated that based on the 2010 Turkey Nutrition and Health Survey (TNHS), 20 percent of the 0-18 age group is overweight and nearly 18 percent is underweight, and based on the Childhood Obesity in Turkey, an average of 78 percent of children aged 7-8 do not do sports.

He pointed out that the Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation has initiated the Balanced Nutrition Education Project, Turkey’s most comprehensive nutritional education project developed in light of these figures, with aspirations to become an institution for all others to look up to in Turkey regarding healthy living and nutrition. He reported a change for the better in children’s healthy nutrition habits in studies conducted before and after the education project. He continued to emphasize how early-age education has an impact on learning and keeping healthy living habits and on balanced nutrition, maintaining iGrow’s content customization in Turkish as an important step in tracking and controlling children’s development level and its vital contribution to raising awareness among parents in particular and to spreading scientific information among the public.

The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research Turkey Business Development Manager Sühendan Adıgüzel van Zoelen, M.D., Specialist, who served as the spokesperson for the TNO at the meeting, disclosed that the number of overweight and obese children jumped three-fold in the Netherlands in the past two decades and called attention to the iGrow project as a prevention program initiated by the Dutch government. Van Zoolen explained iGrow as a system that warns parents and creates awareness.



An early warning system for parents: iGrow

The easy-to-use application allows child development tracking in comparison to the reference data announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) by entering the child’s age, height, and weight. The iGrow application also features content and advice in nutrition, physical activity, and sleeping habit menus.

The application is available to download on smartphones free of charge for all. After downloading on mobile phone or tablets, it requires an account creation for the child's current status. The application creates a growth curve according to the child's height and weight based on the references set by the WHO. In the program, it is also possible to assess the relationship between the body weight and height of a baby or child according to the UNICEF and WHO data. The application provides analyses on infancy and childhood periods, as well as on adolescent development. Growth can be tracked from infancy with the application, which has been built for children aged 0-18.

iGrow available in Turkish before English

The iGrow mobile application was developed by TNO, a research and development organization with a 3,000-strong team of researchers, to track physical development by creating a growth curve of children living in the Netherlands, and it is currently not available in English. The Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation has adapted the application’s all content to Turkish and to the Turkish public’s eating habits, raising parents’ awareness with accurate and scientific information, and allowing developmental tracking of children from infancy to childhood and adolescence. Parents can track the development process of children aged 0-18 and receive support through daily advice on children's sleeping habits, physical activity, and eating habits.



European Obesity Summit emphasizes the importance of physical activity

Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation was the only institution from Turkey to appear at the European Obesity Summit. Joao Breda, PhD, Programme Manager, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, WHO Regional Office for Europe, and a prominent name at the event, drew attention to the role of sedentary life in the rise of obesity during his speech at the event, which is one of the world’s most influential organizations that discusses many issues such as prevention and treatment of obesity, and surgical approaches.



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