IDEFICS was a large-scale European study investigating diet, social determinants and lifestyle factors of 2 to 10 year olds. Our study focused on the investigation of different factors influencing overweight and related disorders. We developed new and innovative approaches for a healthier diet and physical fitness of children in Europe. We teached parents and children and raised their awareness for the problem of overweight and obesity in children in the whole of Europe.
We described the status-quo of dietary and lifestyle habits of children in Europe taking into consideration regional, cultural, social, biological and gender specific aspects. We proposed guidelines for researchers and policy makers that demonstrate future ways for an effective and efficient prevention of overweight in children.
The basis was an intervention programme in kindergartens and schools, in which we focused on examining and improving the diet of children, on increasing physical exercise and on different methods for coping with psycho-social stress.
The IDEFICS Study commenced in September 2006 under the coordination of the Bremen Institute for Prevention Research and Social Medicine, at the University of Bremen. It ended 5½ years later. The study was funded by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Programme.
The focus of the IDEFICS Study was in exploring the risks for overweight and obesity in children as well as associated long-term consequences. In addition, the EU-wide study offered a unique possibility to measure in how far sensory perception and preferences of children influence the development of overweight.
Beyond pure research, IDEFICS offered activities for health promotion and prevention in kindergartens and schools. These prevention programmes was developed, implemented and evaluated within the IDEFICS Study.
The results of the study were incorporated into various guidelines on nutritional, behavioural and lifestyle as well as ethical aspects in all participating countries.
Gabriele Eiben, 46 31-786 6846