Intervention can be key to helping families make healthier choices: I.Family research paper published in Obesity Reviews

An I.Family study has highlighted the positive impact of education for families on healthy diet and lifestyle choices.


IDEFICS, led by the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology (BIPS, Germany) from 2006-2012, was the predecessor to I.Family and staged interventions in several different communities across eight European countries.  Dietary advice and educational materials were supplied to parents, in order to increase awareness and improve health-related behaviour. Most results from IDEFICS have been based on community-level findings up to this point, but this I.Family research focused on the impact at a family level.


The families who engaged with the intervention practices reported significantly lower sugar propensity when compared with families in control communities, where no intervention had taken place. They also showed higher water propensity; water was particularly more consumed in relation to other beverages, compared to the control group.


Propensities of fat, fruits and vegetables were similar and there were no significant diet differences between intervention and control children at baseline, linking these positive findings specifically to the work of IDEFICS.


“The indications of better diet quality in intervention families suggest that we can be optimistic about the sustainability of our intervention,” says Louise Arvidsson of the University of Gothenburg, lead author alongside Leonie Bogl of the University of Helsinki. “We’ve found that simply offering information to people isn’t enough – the environment around them needs to become health-promoting.  We’re achieving that by, for example, including healthy eating on school curriculums, encouraging self-monitoring and feedback, and restructuring home environments. Here, there is evidence that these changes can really make a difference.”


You can read the full research paper here.


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