Background: Tackling inequalities in overweight, obesity and related complications has become a top priority for European research and policy agendas. It is well-known that the health message often does not reach disadvantaged populations, a phenomenon that widens health inequalities. Ensemble Prévenons l'Obésité des Enfants (EPODE) methodology is an innovative approach to counteract obesity and improve health equity. EPODE for the Promotion of Health Equity (EPHE) has assessed the impact and sustainability of the EPODE methodology to diminish inequalities in childhood obesity prevention. The current data represent the results of the intermediate measurements that were obtained following EPHE interventions in 7 European communities across different countries.
Methods: A total of 1,062 children aged 6-8 years and their parents from different socioeconomic backgrounds were observed for 2 years. A self-administrated questionnaire was sent to parents to measure the children's energy balance-related behaviors and their determinants. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to test differences between baseline and intermediate measurements for each socioeconomic group.
Results: We observed changes in behaviors (fruit and vegetable consumption, sugary sweetened beverage consumption, screen exposure) and their related determinants, within the low and high education groups, which were associated with identified inequity gaps at baseline. Although statistical significance was not reached in most of the cases, greater improvements in behaviors were evident within the low education groups.
Conclusions: Our findings show that, after EPODE interventions, the low socioeconomic groups improved their behavior compared to the other socio-economic groups. This indicates that the EPODE methodology has the capacity not only to reduce obesity prevalence but also to decrease health inequities.
© 2016 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.