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.
© 2015 The Authors. Pediatric Obesity published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of World Obesity.