In 1992, Nestle became an active partner with the French government in a pilot project to educate children and parents about food, nutrition and the role of physical activity in good health and development for children and adolescents.
The programme was called EPODE, and it encouraged a community approach to preventing obesity in children, with key groups working together. It was initiated in two towns in Northern France, Fleurbaix and Laventie.
In 2000 the project was extended beyond schools to involve a wider set of community stakeholders, including health professionals, food service providers, supermarkets and media.
By 2004, results exceeded expectations, with juvenile obesity in the two towns receiving educational support falling to just 9%, compared to 18% in similar towns in the region.
EPODE is a long-term programme that provides family and social-centric solutions rather than placing the onus on individuals. It aims to positively influence lifestyles, without the stigma of obesity or any particular foods.
In view of the success in the two pilot towns, EPODE is being extended to 50 towns and cities in France, as well as Belgium, Spain, Greece and Poland – all funded from private organisations.
Nestlé has been with EPODE from the start and we continue to support this project to help combat obesity in young people.
To learn more, read the case study: Supporting obesity prevention programmes, EPODE.