Obesogenic Diets in European Children: From Nutrients to Upstream Factors

Timm Intemann, Antje Hebestreit, Lucia A. Reisch, Garrath Williams, Lauren Lissner, Myfanwy Williams, Claudia Börnhorst, Iris Pigeot

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Introduction: Poor nutrition is a major contributor to the overall burden of disease. Worldwide, nutrition-related diseases have become a major health concern, reportedly causing a loss of over 56 million years of healthy life for European citizens in the year 2000. Childhood obesity is one of these major health problems.
Methods: The IDEFICS/I.Family studies (9), funded in the 6th and 7th European Framework Programme, investigated ways to improve young people’s health and to tackle the problem of obesity. This publication provides an overview of selected results derived from these studies: we will stress dietary factors in European children as one major aspect of the complex aetiology of childhood obesity, and offer a broader comment on the role of contemporary food systems.
Results: Parental socioeconomic status, children’s media consumption and current arketing strategies employed by the food industry were associated with a low-quality diet and unhealthy food intake in European children.
Conclusion: Present evidence calls for policy interventions to facilitate healthy diets of European children and adolescents. Prevention strategies for childhood obesity should address upstream factors including aggressive food marketing to children, the failure of self-regulation of the food industry, and socioeconomic disadvantages.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health Panorama
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)663-676
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Big food
  • Childhood obesity
  • Food choice
  • Food marketing
  • Media consumption

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