Downward trends in the prevalence of childhood overweight in two pilot towns taking part in the VIASANO community-based programme in Belgium: data from a national school health monitoring system

Pediatr Obes. 2016 Feb;11(1):61-7. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12022. Epub 2015 Mar 31.


Background: Multilevel approaches involving environmental strategies are considered to be good practice to help reduce the prevalence of childhood overweight.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of VIASANO, a community-based programme using the EPODE methodology, on the prevalence of overweight in two pilot towns in Belgium.

Methods: We analysed data from a national school health monitoring system to compare changes in the prevalence of overweight and obesity over a 3-year period (2007-2010) in children aged 3-4 and 5-6 years in the pilot towns with those of children of the same ages from the whole French-speaking community of Belgium. Heights and weights of all participants were measured by trained school nurses using a standardized method.

Results: The prevalence of overweight (-2.1%) and overweight + obesity (-2.4%) decreased in the pilot towns, but remained stable in the comparison population (+0.1% and +0.2%, respectively). After adjustment for lack of homogeneity between the study populations, there was a trend towards a decrease in overweight (P = 0.054) and overweight + obesity (P = 0.058) in the pilot towns compared with the general population.

Conclusions: These results suggest that a community-based programme, such as VIASANO, may be a promising strategy for reducing the prevalence of childhood overweight even over a short period of time.

Keywords: Childhood overweight; EPODE; community-based intervention; obesity; prevention.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / prevention & control*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prevalence
  • Program Evaluation
  • School Health Services / organization & administration*