ITALY – DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION EUROBIS (Epode Umbria Region OBesity Intervention Study)
The Diabetes Research Foundation is a no profit organization established in 1999 in Umbria Region to promote research activities in order to improve the strategies towards the prevention and the treatment of obesity, diabetes and their complications. The Umbria Region is small (900 thousand people) and has a prevalence of childhood overweight (26%) and obesity (9%) above the national mean, closer to that of southern Italy Regions. There is an efficient health surveillance system and an active health prevention network (in other sectors) that should be implemented to counteract childhood obesity.
The Epode Umbria Region Obesity Intervention Study (EUROBIS) was officially launched in February 2014. It is a Community based Program targeting 4-12 years old population (about 55,000 children). EUROBIS aims at implementing the Healthy Lifestyle Institute C.U.R.I.A.MO. model through the EPODE methodology. The CURIAMO model is a multidisciplinary approach to prevent and cure obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus based on three key components: 1) Exercise; 2) Nutrition, 3) Psychological support. The Healthy Lifestyle Institute C.U.R.I.A.MO. of Perugia University has a established scientific background in the fields of obesity, exercise and healthy nutrition. Key Umbria stake holders and decision makers are involved in the project with permanent structural interventions in different sectors.
EUROBIS program is expanding and implementing throughout the Umbria region. Several Municipalities are promoting EUROBIS activities throughout primary schools involving children, their parents and all the Community and promoting the adoption of healthier life styles. These activities have been already successfully performed such as: active transport, map of regional healthy trails and open air activities for families, intervention in all primary schools with exercise classes (Regional Law for the 2014-2018), monthly meetings with parents on healthy nutrition and psychological determinants of obesity, cooking classes for children and parents, global media communication strategy to fight childhood obesity including campaigns to promote healthy nutrition and regular exercise with a family based approach. More information on EUROBIS activities are available at www.eurobis.it.
EUROBIS Team Members consists of a Coordinator, a Project Manager, a Communication Officer, Dietitians, Pediatricians, Psychologists, Educators, Pedagogists, Exercise Physiologist, major local companies of food distribution, major sports federations, Regional school office, Umbria Region Health Prevention Dept., political decision makers for health prevention and welfare
Results achieved to date: healthier eating habits improved, increasing of fruits and vegetables consumption, more exercise with a consequent reduction of overweight in children monitored.
Challenges: EUROBIS has two main goals at two levels: a) for the regional intervention to reduce the raising obesity rates of Umbria’s children; b) for the clinical care intervention to reduce the obesity of children enrolled at the Healthy lifestyle Institute C.U.R.I.A.MO.