Obesity can be successfully prevented

"Obesity can be successfully prevented"

As part of the national movement “I’m living healthy, too!” – SETS, at the initiative of PRAIS Foundation, a sociologic study of Bucharest 1st graders’ lifestyle habits was conducted by GfK Romania. The official launch of the second SETS edition will further target the achievement of the objectives related to the prevention of child obesity and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle among the Romanian families, in a holistic approach: mind, body, spirit.

In Romania, SETS movement has engaged up to now 79,529 pupils in the primary cycle from 252 schools from Bucharest, Roman and Cluj-Napoca, 3,000 educators and over 160,000 parents, 2 millions – the public at large.

“For 5 years, we aimed that the national alliance supporting SETS movement proves we can change the future of a generation by informing and educating children and their families nationwide. The methodologies used are applied in 15 other Epode International Network – EIN member countries, like us, and the measurable results will have their say. I want to emphasize that, without a strong public-private partnership underpinning this collective effort, we could not have managed to achieve a best practice model in EIN network”, declared Silvia Bucur, President of PRAIS Foundation.
“We are delighted with the long-term partnership we have with SETS Movement in Romania, as part of EIN. Our message is that obesity can be successfully prevented, evidenced by the results achieved by our members who managed, in the communities where EPODE methodology is applied, to reduce the incidence of this disease among children (for instance, by 1.8% in France, 3.09% in Belgium). We are also happy to announce that the European Obesity Forum will take place this year in Bucharest, between 17th and 18th of October, also as a recognition of the efforts that PRAIS Foundation, together with its local and international partners, manage to undertake in order to prevent juvenile obesity”, concluded Jean-Michel Borys, General Secretary of EIN.

According to GfK study initiated by PRAIS Foundation, a 1st grader from Bucharest is, on average, 7 years old, weights 26 kg and has 125.8 cm in height. The weight-height ratio shows that, between 100-125 cm, children have an average weight of 23.7 kg.  Between 126-145 cm height – an average weight of 28.2 kg, and between 146-160 cm height – an average weight of 29.9 kg.

More than three quarters of the 1st graders from Bucharest eat breakfast every day during the week, and almost all do this every Saturday and Sunday. 68% of the 1st graders from Bucharest eat 3 main meals per day. Half use to eat also in between meals, and 2 out of 5 children eat only during main meals. More than half of the 1st graders from Bucharest consume fruits, vegetables, dairies and meat at least once a day. As regards the consumption of cooked food, they have a cooked meal twice a day on average. On a weekly basis, children consume 8.6 times fruits, 7 times vegetables, and 7.9 times sweets.

They hydrate by drinking more than 4 glasses of liquids every day. As regards the consumption of soft drinks, they drink them 3 times a week on average. The study also shows 38% of the 1st graders from Bucharest exercise every day. On average, 5 days a week they exercise in the open air, by walking in the park, playing with other children.

More than 50% of the 1st graders from Bucharest do physical exercises (including physical education classes and/or practicing a sport) 2-3 times a week.

About half of the 1st graders from Bucharest spend, on average, 2 hours a day in front of the TV during the week, respectively 3 hours in the weekend. A third of the children spend more than 4 hours during the weekend watching TV/DVD/Video. As regards the access to technology and information, about three quarters of the 1st graders from Bucharest have 1 or 2 computers in their household, the majority having access to the Internet.

They study individually for about two and a half hours a day. On a weekend day, they play twice more than on a week day, while they spend about half an hour to communicate with friends on social networks, regardless of the day. Most 1st graders do not spend time on the computer in order to communicate with their friends. On average, they dedicate about two and a half days of their spare time per week to colleagues/ friends. According to their age, they allocate most time to sleep, followed by school activities and individual study. The kids spend more time with their family than they do on the computer.

The members of SETS Scientific Council recommend “Moderation, Balance and Variation” as the slogan of a healthy lifestyle, daily physical activities and sport being essential for the child’s harmonious development, in association with a balanced diet.

The questionnaire was made by PRAIS Foundation, revised by the Ministry of Health and adapted by GfK Romania. The questionnaire was applied in the period December 2012 – January 2013, on a sample consisting of 677 parents of 1st graders from 30 schools from Bucharest and has an error margin of +/- 3.77%. “I’m living healthy too! – SETS Lifestyle habits of 1st graders” study has reference value for SETS national movement, which aims at repeating this sociological analysis also at the end of the project’s 4-year school cycle, thus evaluating the impact of EPODE methodologies, underlying SETS movement.

Starting from the results of the study, the partners decided that the topic of 2013 within the movement is: “SETS – Give the start for movement!”.

The event was attended by Jean-Michel Borys, General Secretary of Epode International Network – EIN, the largest global network for obesity prevention, 24 programs with similar methodologies in 15 countries (including: France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand), within which SETS is an active member. Last year, EIN was appointed by DG SANCO as “Best Health promotion European project”, and the interventions on physical activities within “I’m living healthy too!” – SETS movement are recognized as a best practice model.

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