Ready, set, move!

This year, the CERN Medical Service is launching a new public health campaign. Advertised by the catchphrase “Move! & Eat Better”, the particular aim of the campaign is to encourage people at CERN to take more regular exercise, of whatever kind.


The CERN annual relay race is scheduled on 24 May this year. The CERN Medical Service will officially launch its “Move! & Eat Better” campaign at this popular sporting event. “We shall be on hand on the day of the race to strongly advocate regular physical activity,” explains Rachid Belkheir, one of the Medical Service doctors. "We really want to pitch our campaign and answer any questions people may have. Above all we want to set an example. So we are going to walk the same circuit as the runners to underline to people that they can easily incorporate movement into their daily routine.”

An underlying concern has prompted this campaign: during their first few years at CERN, young adults tend to adopt a sedentary existence, particularly as a result of long periods of work glued to their work stations, and they have a tendency to put on weight. As Rachid Belkheir points out : “This has been observed as a European trend. At CERN we have noted an average weight gain of between 1 and 2 kg each year during the first few years of professional activity. Obviously, this has an impact on physical health, especially cardiovascular health, as well as mental health."

Although the campaign officially starts on 24 May, no official end date has been set. “We're hoping that the campaign will instil a change in people's long-term habits because people at CERN need to be concerned about their well-being all year round,” underlines Rachid Belkheir. The goal of the campaign is that, over time and with the efforts of the Medical Service, each of us will come to recognise the benefits of physical activity as an accessible means of improving and maintaining our health.

To be more physically active, you don't have to join the local sports club or to jog for three hours every week.  There are enough opportunities in a typical day to get moving, such as the old favourite - using the stairs rather than being tempted to take the lift. Or why not a pleasant postprandial walk in the countryside? You could also cycle to work (see box) or take Shanks's pony (i.e. walk) whenever you go and buy your loaf of bread (wholemeal, while you're at it), or go to the post office or pharmacy.

But to return to wholemeal bread, your nutritional habits clearly also play a major role in your state of health. “Novae is one of our privileged partners,” points out Rachid Belkheir.  “They are also helping to remind us all of the rules of a balanced diet.” So, ready to fire on all cylinders?


“Move! & Eat Better” in the coming weeks

- 1 to 30 June, take part in the Bike2Work event. Please note that registration for this event closes on 31 May. You should also note that in June CERN's Gate C will be open from 12 noon to 2 p.m. for the benefit of cyclists, runners and walkers.
- At 6:30 p.m. on 21 June, Dr Per Bo Mahler will give a conference entitled Bouger pour la santé in CERN’s Main Auditorium.
- Other events will be organised throughout the year. The event programme for the “Move! & Eat Better” campaign will be published on Facebook at: and on the official campaign website at:


by Anaïs Schaeffer