EPHE Project – EPODE for the Promotion of Health Equity
Childhood obesity prevalence is currently one of the biggest public health challenges. This topic, as well as the reduction of health inequalities, have been political priorities, internationally. Recent studies from different countries (Spain, Sweden, USA, etc.) have suggested a deceleration of the increase and even a decrease in obesity prevalence and a concomitant increase of inequalities in this disease’s prevalence, as there seems to be a decrease in obesity prevalence in higher socio-economic level groups and an increase of this prevalence in more vulnerable socio-economic groups.
Different strategies have been developed to promote healthy eating. However, they have been mainly focused on citizen information and education, with the aim of changing individual behaviors. There are few and inconsistent studies on the impact of such strategies, with some studies suggesting they are less effective on individuals of low socio-economic levels.
EPHE project is funded by the European Commission and supported by the World Health Organization. It aims to evaluate the impact of healthy eating and physical activity promotion interventions in the decrease of health inequalities, in children aged 6 to 9. To accomplish this, the EPHE project intends to implement health promotion measures in four major areas: 1) promotion of fruit and vegetable intake, 2) promotion of water intake, 3) promotion of an active lifestyle and 4) promotion of adequate sleeping habits.
This pilot study is to be developed over a period of 3 years (2013-2015) in 7 European communities (Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Portugal, Romania and The Netherlands). The Directorate-General of Health, in the scope of the National Programme for Healthy Eating Promotion (PNPAS), is a partner of this pioneer project in the area of health inequalities reduction.