ENERGY - European energy balance research to prevent excessive weight gain among youth

Background

The worldwide prevalence of overweight and obesity has been steadily increasing, also among children and adolescents, and is reaching alarming epidemic proportions. Preventing excessive weight gain among schoolchildren will help to halt the increasing number of overweight adolescents and young adults, but will also improve physical health and prevent disorders, and may contribute to psychosocial well being. Overweight and obesity are the result of health behaviours related to nutrition and physical activity which result in a positive energy balance. To date most efforts to prevent obesity by promotion of energy balance-related behaviours have not been successful in reducing the prevalence of overweight. Recently, experts have recognised that a variety of energy balance-related behaviours should be jointly addressed to curb the obesity epidemic, and a carefully planned, evidence and theory-based multidisciplinary approach is necessary to accomplish this.