UÉ joins the team promoting the creation of a European Observatory of Rural Food and Fitness Deserts

Armando Raimundo, Director of the School of Health and Human Development, is principal investigator for the University of Évora in the DESERT Project, coordinated by the University of Zaragoza, which aims to analyse rural areas or deserts, where the population has limited access to essential services such as health, social assistance, education and telecommunications. 

The DESERT project, with a total budget of 638,591 euros, co-financed 70 % by the European Union through the E4Health Partnership programme, aims to promote health equity through physical exercise and healthy eating in rural areas and will run for three years (2024-2027) in the province of Teruel (Spain), the Alto Alentejo region (Portugal) and Central Anatolia (Turkey). "Service deserts" are geographical areas where people have limited or no access to essential services. Sometimes these are areas with limited access to healthy and affordable food, or with environments that make it difficult to practise physical activity. To analyse this situation, the DESERT European research project has been set up with researchers from Spain, Portugal and Turkey to identify, map and profile food and exercise deserts in the rural areas identified above. This project will also result in the creation of a European Observatory of Rural Food and Exercise Deserts.

The project is expected to raise the profile of the needs of people living in rural areas of southern Europe, putting their needs on the political agenda with a view to attracting funds, services and infrastructures that promote health equity in these areas. The project's launch day began on 13 May at the Aragon Biomedical Research Centre (CIBA), which was attended by Armando Raimundo, as well as Rosa Bolea, Vice-Rector for Science Policy, Luis E. Pablo, Deputy Scientific Director of IIS Aragon, Marian Franco, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Isabel Antón, DESERT's principal investigator. During the first year, the new concepts of rural desert and physical exercise desert will be defined, identifying and measuring indicators of food deserts so that they can be mapped in rural areas of southern Europe. Next, through participatory action research, it is planned to collaborate with the populations living in the rural areas under study, as well as with the relevant companies and services, to explore their needs and identify strategies for improving their diet and physical exercise.

The project's launch day began on 13 May at the Aragon Biomedical Research Centre (CIBA), which was attended by Armando Raimundo, as well as Rosa Bolea, Vice-Rector for Science Policy, Luis E. Pablo, Deputy Scientific Director of IIS Aragon, Marian Franco, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Isabel Antón, DESERT's principal investigator.

Published in 22.05.2024