Workpackage 03

Identification of the determinants of most important energy-balance related behaviours

Ilse de Bourdeaudhuij

Leader Institution:
Ghent University

In WP3 qualitative methods will be used to detect critical determinants of the identified specific behaviours in WP2. Focus groups interviews will be executed with parents and teachers. The results of WP3 will provide information of predisposing (e.g. children’s food preferences), reinforcing (e.g. parental and teachers’ behaviours, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes, food promotion and advertising, parental and teachers’ practices) and enabling factors (e.g. time constraints, access to safe playgrounds) determining children’s behaviours, which will be used for the development of the of the intervention material in WP6.

The few studies available on determinants in this young age group can lead us in developing the questioning routes for the qualitative research. Focus group interviews with parents and teachers are chosen for several reasons. The flexible questioning and synergetic effect of group conversations increases the likelihood that data and ideas will be produced that would remain uncovered with other methods (e.g. one on one interviews, self-reported questionnaires. By executing focus groups in the different countries it will be possible to draw conclusions about similarities and differences between countries [131]. These focus groups will furthermore be valuable to generate ideas about possible effective intervention strategies using the intervention mapping protocol [59]. As a consequence these focus groups will provide us with information of predisposing, reinforcing and enabling factors determining children’s behaviours and actual environment taking into account the views of important stakeholders such as the parents and teachers.

We hypothesize that determinants will be partly similar across European countries, partly country-specific and partly family-sociodemographic specific. All determinants identified in WP3 will be included in the intervention material to facilitate in the best possible way the local, cultural and sociodemographic needs within a European scale approach.


3.1 Carrying out a qualitative study to identify the determinants of the behaviours found in WP2 to be related with overweight and obesity in young children.

3.2 Identification of the most important parenting practices and home environmental characteristics that are associated with overweight and obesity in young children.

3.3 Provision of practical input, recommendations and guidance for the development of the intervention in WP6.