Co-ordinator’s Message


I Family Study – 2012 – 2017

It is now five years since the I.Family Study first began, building on the work achieved in the IDEFICS project.  We set out on our journey to identify the determinants of food and lifestyle choices within European families, the aim being to help families – adults and children – make choices which support lifelong health.

Over the course of the project – which has involved 17 institutions in 12 different countries – we have examined health, genetics, diet, physical fitness factors together with the local environments and peer and family influences of more than 16,000 children and their parents in eight countries. That’s the biggest ever cohort of European families.

I.Family has produced a significant body of data and evidence, demonstrating that many issues need to be addressed if we are to improve the health of children and families. Key to this is government intervention if we are to stem the tide of obesity across Europe. Families and individuals simply can’t do it alone.


As we had hoped, our successful final conference in Brussels on 9th February 2017 helped us communicate our key findings to a wide range of individuals and organisations with relevance to family health policy at local, national and European levels, our presentations sparking some very interesting and constructive discussions.

In addition, our key findings and messages featured in extensive media coverage around the world, including in Australia and the US as well as across Europe.

We now look forward to continuing to ensure that the I.Family findings are used to inform and develop effective policies at all levels which support and encourage families to lead healthy lifestyles.

On a personal note, it has been a great privilege to work with so many dedicated and skilled researchers and I’d like to thank everyone within I.Family for their invaluable contributions to this project. We are enormously grateful to the thousands of individuals who participated in the Study and we hope that, in the future, we can continue to learn more about non-communicable diseases from this same cohort, as the children progress into their teens and beyond.

On the I.Family website you will find a wealth of information about our conference and the topics the Study examined, including dietary and sleep patterns, food choices, the role of friends and family, local environments, metabolic health, genetic factors, and community interventions. We do hope that you find it both interesting and informative.

As new publications on I.Family research become available, these will be uploaded – so do keep checking back to see what is new.

I wish you all good luck in your endeavours to improve the health of children not just in Europe but everywhere.

Professor Wolfgang Ahrens

I.Family Study Coordinator

Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS


Click here to see more information from the Conference 




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