Promoting health and striving to reduce inequities

Socio-economic disparity affects the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. Populations of lower socio-economic status are more likely to develop non-communicable diseases and suffer greater exposure to related risk factors, while rates of obesity are also higher and are increasing more rapidly among these groups.

In response, in 2012 the EPHE (EPODE for the Promotion of Health Equity) project was launched, aiming to reduce socio-economic inequities linked to health-related behavior of families in 7 European countries over three years.

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2.1 billion people — nearly 30% of the world’s population — are either obese or overweight.
One in five children is overweight, on average, in OECD countries, but rates are as high as one in three in countries like Greece, Italy, Slovenia and the US.
Adults in lower income categories are experiencing higher levels of obesity than adults in high income groups. The social gradient can account for around 25% of the obesity prevalence in men and 50% in women.
The prevalence of overweight and obesity in childhood has increased remarkably in developed countries, from 17% in 1980 to 24% in 2013 in boys and from 16% to 23% in girls. Similarly, in developing countries, rates have risen from roughly 8% to 13% in both boys and girls over the three decades.
40% of overweight children will continue to have increased weight during adolescence and 75−80% of obese adolescents will become obese adults.
Not only is the obesity crisis weighing heavy on public health, it is also a burden to public funds, with obesity representing an estimated 1% to 3% of total health expenditure in most countries.

Obesity is preventable in all populations.
That's what the EPODE pilot study demonstrated from 1992 to 2004 in the North of France by taking a series of coordinated societal measures, slowing down the obesity trend and enhancing a healthy active lifestyle among children.

EPODE towns Control towns
Evolution of prevalence according to socioeconomic groups in EPODE towns compared with control towns.
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Discover the point of view from different experts Play

EPODE and the community: Together we can!

EPODE enables communities to implement effective and sustainable strategies to prevent childhood obesity. Its philosophy includes a positive, step-by-step approach, without any stigmatisation, tailored to the needs of all socio-economic groups.

Click on the video to discover what is the Community-Based approach.


The EPHE project seeks to reduce the health gap
between socioeconomic groups in 4 main areas:

Participating in this Project are…

EPHE brings together many different actors in order to achieve our objectives. Click on the icons below to learn more about the roles of each participating actor.

Community-Based Programmes

A Community-Based Programme is an organized programme within the community which carries out « interventions » or actions in its schools and family settings with the community at large. Political endorsement and multi-stakeholder support is crucial.

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The EPHE Scientific Advisory Board is composed of representatives from European universities, experts in the fields of physical activity and nutrition.

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European Union

The European Union is a funding partner of the EPHE project. The endorsement of this body is significant as it underlines the credibility of the project and facilitates its outcomes dissemination across Europe.

Private Partners

Public-Private Partnerships is one of the pillars of the EPODE Methodology at local and central level. Discover more about the EPHE co-funding partners and their rules of engagement.

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From scientific evidence to action
on the ground

The EPHE project works with 7 European cities from
7 Community-Based Programmes to conduct its pilot-life study.

Click on the map to find more information, watch videos on activities, stakeholders’ interviews and scroll through photo libraries of each partner.


  • Belgium, Mouscron
  • Since 2007

20 cities, activating 815.000 inhabitants

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Healthy Kids in Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria, Triaditsa, Studenski and Lyulin
  • Since 2011

3 regions in the Capital Sofia, stimulating over 5.000 primary school children

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  • France, Flandre-Lys
  • Since 2003

8 cities extending to 38.932 inhabitants

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  • Greece, Maroussi
  • Since 2008

9 PAIDEIATROFI towns, reaching out to 30.000 children and their families

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  • Netherlands, Zwolle
  • Since 2010

More than 75 cities, reaching over 1 million people (including + 300.000 children!) and enabling them to make healthy lifestyle choices

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Maia Menu Saudável

  • Portugal, Maia
  • Since 2006

School-based programme in the Municipality of the city Maia, promoting healthy eating habits and lifestyle to over 8.000 school children

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I’m living healthy, too! - SETS

  • Romania, Otopeni
  • Since March 2011

252 schools in Bucharest, involving over 94.500 students, along with their families

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Guidance from an experts' committee

Click on the logo of each of our scientific partners to learn more about their involvement.

Evaluations & Results

In order to measure the evolution in terms of behavior change as a result of the EPHE interventions, 3 key stages to the evaluation process were devised.

All data collected is self-reported.

Facts & Figures
  1. Baseline evaluation by the scientific partners to understand behaviors before the EPHE interventions began
  2. Evaluation to identify if and how the EPHE interventions have a positive impact on behaviors
  3. Evaluation to determine whether the interventions have a sustainable impact on energy-balance related behaviors


Public & Private Partners Collaborating for Health

This web platform is the result of the European project, "EPODE for the Promotion of Health Equity" (EPHE, agreement number: 2007327). This project has received funding from the European Union, in the framework of the Health Programme.

The EPHE project is also co-funded by private partners that have committed to the EU platform on diet, physical activity and health and signed a commitment charter for the project.