Insights to prevention of childhood obesity published in high ranking international obesity journal

Researchers from IDEFICS & I.Family studies share results from EC-funded intervention programme

Today’s high prevalence of childhood obesity is alarming and long-term prevention methods are urgently needed.

To contribute to solutions to this worldwide health concern, researchers from the EC-funded I.Family study have published a special issue of the leading journal, Obesity Reviews. The issue contains 14 papers examining the effects of an obesity intervention programme that ran for close to six years and involved 16,000 young children – one of the largest studies in Europe.

“Prevention of childhood obesity: Results from the IDEFICS study” has been published as a supplement volume of the highly respected health research journal, Obesity Reviews, the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity with an impressive impact factor of 8.00.  It is widely read by professionals with an interest in obesity.

The new issue is available to view here and is sponsored by the Federal Centre for Health Education in Germany (BZgA – Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung).  It describes and evaluates the results of the IDEFICS intervention study (Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and InfantS); this obesity intervention programme addressed 2 to under 10 year olds and was implemented in eight European countries from 2006-12.

Co-authored by I.Family researchers, the special issue of Obesity Reviews examines the design, effectiveness, implementation and impact of the IDEFICS intervention, whilst highlighting lessons for public policy and summarising the programme’s outcomes.  The I.Family study is co-ordinated by the University of Bremen and the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS, Germany.  As the successor project to IDEFICS, I.Family is reassessing families first engaged in the IDEFICS study as the children approach teenage years, to identify factors affecting food choice, lifestyle and health.

“We are delighted to be featured in this eminent publication, to share our insights and findings from the IDEFICS intervention,” says Prof. Wolfgang Ahrens from BIPS and the University of Bremen, project co-ordinator of both the IDEFICS and I.Family studies.  “Measures to reduce childhood obesity will only be successful if the conditions for primary prevention programmes are better understood.  The supplement will therefore contribute to ongoing discussions around this urgent, global health challenge.”

ENDS/Contacts and Notes follow

Notes for Editors:

  1. The I.Family Study is an EC funded project under Framework 7 of the KBBE programme running from March 2012 to February 2017. It has 17 partners, working across 11 countries and with cohorts in 8 European countries – Germany, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Cyprus, Estonia, Spain and Belgium.
  2. The study has two strategic objectives:
    (1) Understand the interplay between barriers against and drivers towards healthy food choice;
    (2) Develop and disseminate strategies to induce changes that promote healthy dietary behaviour in European consumers especially adolescents and their parents
  3. The I.Family Study is re-assessing the families first engaged with the Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and Infants Study (IDEFICS), when children were below 10 years of age, now that they move into adolescence – the ‘tween’ years – identifying those families that have adopted a healthy approach to food and eating habits and those that have not. I. Family is adopting a holistic approach by also investigating the biological, behavioural, social and environmental factors that drive dietary behaviour as children journey towards adulthood.

4. I.Family study partners

Participant organisation Lead investigator(s) Key responsibilities
University of Bremen, Germany Wolfgang Ahrens Project coordinator
Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS, Germany Iris Pigeot German cohort, statistics
Institute of Food Sciences, National Research Council, Italy Alfonso Siani Italian cohort, nutritional epidemiology
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark Lucia Reisch,
Wencke Gwozdz
Consumer behaviour & environmental influences
University of Lancaster, United Kingdom Garrath Williams Ethics, policy, and stakeholder engagement
Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden Staffan Mårild,
Lauren Lissner
Swedish cohort, family analysis
University of Helsinki, Finland Jaakko Kaprio Familial aggregation & genetic modelling
University of the Baleares Islands, Spain Andreu Palou,
Catalina Picó
Genomic analysis
University of Pécs, Hungary Dénes Molnár Hungarian cohort
Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, The Netherlands Roger Adan Neuroimaging & neuropsychology
Research and Education Institute of Child Health, Cyprus Michael Tornaritis Cypriot cohort
National Institute for Health Development, Estonia Toomas Veidebaum Estonian cohort
Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Italy Vittorio Krogh Dietary assessment methods
University of Bristol, United Kingdom Angie Page,
Ashley Cooper
Physical activity monitoring
Minerva PRC Ltd, United Kingdom Rhonda Smith
Kate Viggers
Dissemination and communication
University of Zaragoza, Spain Luis Moreno Spanish cohort
Ghent University, Belgium Stefaan De Henauw Belgian cohort



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