The EC-funded project I.Family will do just that, helping to identify the reasons why young people in Europe eat the way they do and how this influences lifelong health.
Many factors are at play. Family time and influence are challenged by modern independent lifestyles. Processed foods, drinks and snacks are readily available. Marketing and peer pressures, accompanied by screen-based distractions that can replace physical activity, all play their part, under-pinned by learnt taste preferences and genetic predispositions.
Building on data gained from over 10,000 children in the IDEFICS study, the EC funded project I.Family will provide further insight into the most important influences on Europe’s young people, their lifestyle behaviour and their eating habits. I.Family will do this by re-assessing families as their children move into adolescence, identifying those families that have adopted a healthy approach to food and eating habits and those who have not. The project will help us understand the biological, behavioural, social and environmental factors that drive dietary behaviour as children journey towards adulthood.
With nutrition-related diseases causing a loss of over 56 million years of healthy life of European citizens as reported in 2000, policy-makers and healthcare professionals need to be sure how they can best support families to achieve healthier lifestyles. Families and individuals themselves will also benefit from the clarity provided by I.Family’s results, helping them to establish the ground rules that will lead to enjoyment of a longer healthier life.