EPHE survey: In Romania, a child spends about 22.7 hours/week in front of a computer or TV screen

"EPHE survey: In Romania, a child spends about 22.7 hours/week in front of a computer or TV screen"

PRAIS Foundation, the initiator of the national movement „I’m living healthy, too!” – SETS, has implemented the three-year project EPHE – „EPODE for the promotion of health equality”. The methodologies and the results of the extracurricular educational project SETS were monitored on a representative sample of 180 families from Otopeni town. The same research was simultaneously conducted in 6 other similar communities from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Greece and Bulgaria, in order to assess the community-based interventions aimed at reducing the health gap and at preventing child obesity among disadvantaged populations.

The EPHE survey is an exploratory research intended to identify behavioral inequalities and their determining factors, among selected socio-economic categories, by applying the same questionnaire on the same sample every year. 1,266 children and their families were surveyed in 7 countries. Among them, 631 boys and 635 girls, aged 7 to 9.

Parental control over the time spent in front of a screen is crucial.

The presence of a television set in the child’s bedroom or watching TV during family meals were identified as determining factors. In Romania, a child spends about 22.7 hours a week in front of a (computer or TV) screen, while the time spent in the Netherlands and Belgium is around 15 hours. Our country is surpassed only by Bulgaria, with 25 hours. The time spent in front of the computer is monitored equally in the target socio-economic groups: 50% of the parents control the time spent by their children in front of the screen.

Health inequality: traditional prevention does not reach those who need it the most.

According to the study, the economic and educational status of the family can be associated with approx. 25% of obesity prevalence in men and 50% in women. Disadvantaged categories of the population do not have equal access to traditional prevention methods, because of the low participation or awareness rate, so that the children born in a family with a low socio-economic status are at a disadvantage when it comes to the prevalence of obesity.

“The parental environment where a child is born and grown is essential. Health inequalities appear also because of the economic conditions and education level of the families. A change in perceptions and behaviors requires a lot of time. The EPHE study shows that once the good habits are incorporated in the daily family practice, they can be sustainable, which is a positive signal for a family and community-based approach to preventing obesity during childhood and at adulthood. Public-private partnership is also one of the basic pillars ensuring the measurable success of these programs”, states Silvia Bucur, President of PRAIS Foundation.

At the end of the three years of implementation and three surveys, the EPHE study highlighted the benefits of constant access to information, education and engagement already at an early age in changing lifestyle habits and creating a favorable environment for the overall health of the families. Parental practices at home can be improved through direct actions at school and in the community. Free access to educational materials, open lessons about the importance of a balanced diet including all food categories, fruits and vegetables, daily physical activity, creative workshops and theatre plays on the importance of drinking water and sleeping are just some of the interventions of the national movement „I’m living healthy, too!” – SETS implemented and monitored for 3 years on the same respondent sample.