Lifestyle and chronic diseases

Head of Service a.i.: 

The basis of an effective public health policy

We measure at regular intervals through various surveys the state of the health of the population and their nutritional habits. This enables us to monitor the evolution of multiples factors that affect health, such as the amount of physical activity or access to care. The results of our work enable decision-makers and policymakers to effectively steer their public health policies on the basis of concrete and objective data. Our work is a precious source of information for the scientific and medical community, but also for all citizens who feel concerned about their health.

On another level, we also monitor changes in the consumption of illegal drugs in Belgium. We identify emerging trends and the appearance of new substances on the market.

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Our work focuses on health problems – and their determinants – that have an impact on life expectancy and, in particular, on good health. We study, for example, how certain chronic diseases develop, social phenomena such as obesity and sedentary, but also inequalities in terms of health. Known for its expertise, our service is constantly updating its knowledge in order to perfect new initiatives and innovative monitoring methods. The results of our research are always interpreted in partnership with the different levels of competent authority in order to enable them to develop and efficiently adapt their public health policies.

In the fight against illicit drugs, we monitor the changes in consumption in Belgium and the appearance of new substances on the market. We are the contact point for associations actively involved in prevention in the field in Belgium (Eurotox and VAD), and we work in close collaboration with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. We publish a report each year that includes all the data available at national level: trends, changes, supply, consumption, health and social consequences, prevention policies, research, etc.

At the federal level, we work particularly closely with the FPS Public Health, the FPS Social Security, NIHDI (INAMI-RIZIV) and the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO). In addition, we carry out our health and food consumption surveys in close collaboration with the Walloon, Brussels and Flemish Regions, as well as with the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the Flemish and German-speaking Communities. We work also with most of the Belgian universities.

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