This profile was prepared when David Egan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
David is working to change young people’s behavior not by telling them what to do, but rather by helping them to understand the implications of their lifestyle choices. Through RedBranch, he has highlighted the misleading communication techniques used by the food and beverage industry to better educate kids about the consequences of their eating habits. He uses this technique to change prevailing attitudes, and eventually behaviors of young people as they relate to both diet and exercise, and it is this educational basis that serves as the foundation for his broader healthy schools program. A healthy environment is just as critical as personal choices to achieve successful lifestyle behavior change. Therefore, in addition to providing parents, children and teachers with the knowledge and tools they need to ensure that healthy choices are made available, RedBranch is also helping them advocate for changes in school policies, curricula, canteens, vending machines and school shops, and in the variety and quality of physical activities made available. In building the capacity of young people and parents alike and pushing for changes in school programs, David has successfully introduced healthy food suppliers, fruit micro-businesses, and alternative sports providers to schools across Ireland.