Project lead and central coordination Hungarian Dietetic Association
Political and scientific support
Ministry of Human Resources, State Secretariat of Health
Municipality of Dunaharaszti and Szerencs
Semmelweis University, Faculty of Health Sciences
National Institute of Children’s Health
Obesity is one of the most emerging health issues of our times. Number of obese children has tripled in Hungary in the last 20 years. The Hungarian Dietetic Association has initiated the first GYERE „Children’s Health” project aiming to prevent childhood obesity in autumn of 2014 in Dunaharaszti city as part of the EPODE International Network with financial support from the Coca-Cola Foundation. The second intervention program has started in 2015 in Szerencs city as part of the Nestlé Healthy Kids Program.
Main objective of the GYERE program is to prevent childhood obesity by acting on the behavior of the whole family, changing its environment and community norms.
Preparatory: getting in touch with political and private partners (mayor, municipality, schools, family health visitors), kick-off meetings with parents.
Baseline survey: in order to measure impact of the intervention anthropometric data of the 6-12y children are collected by experts of the Hungarian Dietetic Association in collaboration with the local family health visitors.
The health education program targets primarily the 0-18y children, but information is continuously given also for teachers and parents.
The intervention period is consist of eight messages around balanced eating and active, healthy lifestyle: benefits of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, importance of proper hydration, role of meat and fish in the healthy diet, milk and dairy products, sweets and desserts, how to reduce fat and salt consumption, local dietary recommendations (OKOSTÁNYÉR®, ”smart plate”).
Experts of the Hungarian Dietetic Association hold various activities as interactive lectures and games targeting children in schools and kindergartens. The program follows an in-depth approach, 3-4 months is dedicated for each topic what allows children to have a deeper knowledge and understanding.
Families of 0-3 years children are also involved via the local family health visitors network and day cares.
The program regularly engages with parents, educative materials on healthy eating and active lifestyle is given.
A special GYERE® menu is served in canteen of all primary and secondary schools.
A free-off charge online nutritional conselling by dietician experts is available for all families.
Experts of the GYERE® Program are actively involved in every local community events and activities to provide dietary counselling and interactive games for children and families.
A huge family event the „GYERE® Day” is organized on the end of the school-year with entertaining activities on healthy lifestyle for the whole community.
Continuous communication in social and traditional media channels (local tv and radio, local news, GYERE Facebook fanpage, Instagram and website) is an essential element of the program.
To measure impact of the intervention anthropometric data of 6-12y children is also collected on the end of the program and compared to results of the baseline survey.
To measure impact of the health intervention anthropometric data of 6-12y children are collected at baseline and after the three years intervention. N=1421 (51.1% boys, 48.5% girls in 2014), 1315 (50.3% boys, 49.7% girls in 2017).
Results: A considerable proportion of children (26.5%) is obese or overweight, 9% of the sample is undernourished. Prevalence of obesity and overweight is the highest among 10y girls (30.6% respectively) and also significant among 12y boys (26.8%). There was no difference in antropometric status between genders, while prevalence of overweight is growing with the age, undernourishment is appearing at the 7-10y age group.
Mean BMI of the total sample from 2014 is significantly higher than the mean BMI in 2017 (p=0,000). Mean BMI of 8-10y boys, 7-8y girls and 11-12y girls is significantly lower in 2017 vs. 2014 (p=0,000). Prevalence of overweight has decreased by 5% and obesity by 2% between 2014 and 2017.
According to results of the baseline survey in 2015 (N= 702; 6-12y children) 59,4% of children have a normal weight, 33% is obese or overweight and 7,5% is undernourished. There is no significant difference in genders or age groups.