• Open Access

EPODE approach for childhood obesity prevention: methods, progress and international development


  • EEN Study Group:

  • M. van Koperen, Institute of Health Sciences, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • J. van Assche, Centre for Sustainable Development, Centre for Local Politics, Research Unit on Nutrition and Food Safety, Gent University, Belgium

  • G. Vicente-Rodríguez, GENUD ‘Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development’ Research Group, Faculty of Health and Sport Science (FCSD), Department of Physiotherapy and Nursing, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain

  • L. Gracia-Marco, GENUD ‘Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development’ Research Group, Department of Physiotherapy and Nursing, School of Health Science (EUCS), Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain

  • EEN public grant: Directorate General for Health and Consumers (European Commission, Agreement 2007 327).

  • EEN private partners' grants: Ferrero International, Mars, Nestlé S.A., Orangina-Schweppes Group.

  • Re-use of this article is permitted in accordance with the Terms and Conditions set out at http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/onlineopen#OnlineOpen_Terms


Childhood obesity is a complex issue and needs multistakeholder involvement at all levels to foster healthier lifestyles in a sustainable way. ‘Ensemble Prévenons l'ObésitéDes Enfants’ (EPODE, Together Let's Prevent Childhood Obesity) is a large-scale, coordinated, capacity-building approach for communities to implement effective and sustainable strategies to prevent childhood obesity. This paper describes EPODE methodology and its objective of preventing childhood obesity.

At a central level, a coordination team, using social marketing and organizational techniques, trains and coaches a local project manager nominated in each EPODE community by the local authorities. The local project manager is also provided with tools to mobilize local stakeholders through a local steering committee and local networks. The added value of the methodology is to mobilize stakeholders at all levels across the public and the private sectors. Its critical components include political commitment, sustainable resources, support services and a strong scientific input – drawing on the evidence-base – together with evaluation of the programme.

Since 2004, EPODE methodology has been implemented in more than 500 communities in six countries. Community-based interventions are integral to childhood obesity prevention. EPODE provides a valuable model to address this challenge.