Prof. Willem van Mechelen

Prof. Willem van Mechelen

Prof. Willem van Mechelen has a unique combined background in physical education, human movement sciences, epidemiology, (occupational and sports) medicine and public health/primary care. After a career as classroom physical education teacher and occupational physician, he completed his PhD at age 40 years. From that time onwards he engaged himself seriously in science. His research group, which he has built up from scratch in the past 20+ years, has an international reputation and a leading position in the two fields of social medicine he represents: occupational medicine and public health/sports medicine. In Occupational Medicine he has evaluated and introduced graded-exercise programs as highly cost-effective means for return-to-work of workers on sick leave, as well as worksite lifestyle interventions for the entire workforce.

Keynote title: “A physically active lifestyle: self-regulation and self-responsibility or a Nanny State?”

It is always a pleasure listening Prof. Van Mechelen… A unique researcher with an incredible background on real-life implementation of lab-based research outcomes. In this session he will discuss 2 options for behavioural change along the lines of the thinking of Geoffrey Rose (i.e. Sick Populations and/or Sick Individuals?). Part of the treatment of sick individuals are Exercise is medicine programmes, as supported by the “European Initiative of Exercise is Medicine” and by the American College of Sports Medicine. These programs aim to connect effectively health-care and exercise prescription and are currently implemented in several European countries with outstanding results. A wonderful evidence-based model to learn from. Also his thoughts about ‘treating’ sick populations will be presented.