Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health Prolepsis

Program on Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition – DIATROFI

The Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health, Prolepsis is a nongovernmental organization, active in the field of medical research, health promotion, environmental and occupational health since 1990.

The Program on Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition – DIATROFI, implemented by Prolepsis Institute,since 2012, with Stavros Niarchos Foundation as the founding donor, supports students in primary and secondary public schools in socioeconomically vulnerable areas throughout Greece, contributing to the fight against food insecurity and hunger. Furthermore, the program promotes healthy nutrition through educational material and activities aimed at the students and their families.

The Program is aimed at students in primary and secondary public schools in socioeconomically vulnerable areas throughout Greece, and secondarily at their families.

The DIATROFI Program has been implemented on 2018-2019 for an eighth consecutive school year, having distributed since 2012 more than 15 million meals in approximately 690 schools and to 114,500 students throughout Greece. 

The Program provides a free meal to all the students in the participating schools on a daily basis, which includes a sandwich or other healthy baked goods, a seasonal fresh fruit and white milk or yogurt with honey 2-3 times per week. 

The Program’s method of implementation is distinguished by its scientific credibility, its high quality and great sense of responsibility to all stages of Program implementation:

  • The schools that participate in the Program are selected based on strict socioeconomic criteria.
  • The DIATROFI Program is implemented by a multidisciplinary team that includes physicians, dieticians, food technologists, health promotion professionals, statisticians, educators and sociologists, with contribution from professors in Greece and the United States, from institutions such as the Medical School of the University of Athens, Harvard University, and Stanford University. 
  • The diets are designed to be healthy and to meet a significant portion of the daily dietary requirement of the students (21- 33% of their daily energy needs), based on their ages.
  • The meals are prepared specifically for the Program by carefully selected suppliers that possess the required sanitation systems and meet strict safety standards.All of the meals are prepared exclusively with olive oil. Only whole wheat is used, and preservatives and other additives are not used. All of the food is produced in Greece.
  • The quality and safety of the meals is constantly monitored and assured through daily visits to the schools, food sample analysis and regular visits to and inspections of the suppliers.
  • Alongside, the Program entails the design and distribution  of educational material and hosts activities concerning healthy nutrition and physical activity  for the students and their families.
  • Τhe procedure and results of the Program are recorded and evaluated using quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis.

The Prolepsis Institute has established cooperation with state, local and regional bodies and has included the DIATROFI Program in programmes and actions implemented at european level. Particularly:

  • Cooperation with the Prefecture of Central Greece (Sterea Ellada) for implementing the DIATROFI Program in schools located in Central Greece.

  • Cooperation with the North Kynouria Municipality for implementing the DIATROFI Program in schools located in the Municipality.

  • Fundraising activitities in cooperation with private schools (ACS Athens, Campion School) 

Also, in previous years:

  • Implemenation of the EU School Milk Scheme, based on Commission Regulation 657/2008
  • Participation in the program “We are all Citizens”  under the EEA Grants for Greece (
  • Cooperation with the Ministry of Rural Development and Food for the reinforcement of the DIATROFI Program (

36 employees have participated in the design and implementation of the DIATROFI Program

During the 2018-2019 school year the Program was implemented  in 100 schools, benefiting 6.127 students in the Attica, the Prefecture of Sterea Ellada, as well as the regional units of Evros, Xanthi, Rodopi, and Arcadia (North Kynouria).

Through dalily feeding of children, food insequrity and hunger are successfully addressed and also the physical and mental health of children are defended, as shown by Prolepsis Institute date from the school year 2018- 2019.

At the end of  the school year, the percentage of families experiencing food insecurity decreased by 24.5%, whereas the percentage of families experiencing food insecurity with hunger decreased by 36.9%. Furthermore, 33.4% of students who did not attain normal weight at the beginning, reached a normal weight at the end. Moreover, the physical health of 52% of the students and the mental health of 49.2% of the students improved. Also, the health- related quality of life improved for 50.6% of students. 79.5% of the children were asking for healthier food at home, whereas they increased fruit consumption by 45.2%.

The parents of the students report that their behaviour and concentration to lessons have improved. The teachers report school dropouts have decreased and social cohesion has been strengthened.

The Program also financially assists the families and contributes significantly to strengthening the economy through new job opportunities in the food industry and in service sectors. From its initial implementation until today more than 170 jobs have been created.

The benefits that the Prolepsis Institute has gained from the implementation of the Program are summarized in the development of competencies  and valuable experience of its executives, as well as in the development of a network of volunteers, organizations, institutions, companies and individuals. Moreover, the innovation and results of the Program have led to numerous publications and presentations in Greece and internationally, both in the scientific community, civil society and general public, highlighting the benefits and the international impact of the Program, enhancing the scientific excellence and recognizibility of the organization and promoting good practices that contribute to the welll- being and health of children. In total, there have been 7 publications in international scientific journals, 4 abstracts published in international scientific journals, 2 publications in national research series/reports, 11 presentations of the DIATROFI Program in international scientific conferences, 25 presentations of the Program in national scientific conferences (