I.Family – Investigating the determinants of food choice, lifestyle and health in European children, adolescents and their parents

The EC Funded I.Family Study will investigate and report on these issues, helping to identify the reasons why young people in Europe eat the way they do and how this influences lifelong health.

European citizens in 2000 lost 56 million years of healthy life due to nutrition-related diseases. Many factors come in to 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 replace outdoor play and a built environment that reduces opportunities for physical activity, all play their part, under-pinned by learnt taste preferences and genetic predispositions.

I.Family will make a significant contribution to understanding the interplay of these complex factors and reducing adverse health results.  This EC funded research project will follow up the large IDEFICS children’s cohort in the stage between childhood and their teenage years, a period of great change.  I.Family will provide further insight into the most important influences on this group of young people, their lifestyle behaviour and their eating habits.

The project’s acronym – I.Family – highlights the project’s focus on both the influences on the individual and on their family.  I.Family will re-assess families as their children move into adolescence, identifying those families that have adopted a healthy approach to food,eating habits and lifestyle choice and those that have not.

The focus will be on the family environment, socio-behavioural and genetic factors.  Groups with contrasting dietary profiles will be studied, looking at measures of brain activity, the relation of genes to food choice, biological and genetic basis for taste thresholds, sleep patterns, sedentary time, physical activity and impact of their local built environment.

The project will help us understand the biological, behavioural, social and environmental factors that drive dietary behaviour as children journey towards adulthood.  It will thus be of interest to policy-makers and healthcare professionals keen to ensure how best to 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.

The I.Family study covers research areas which will examine family, environment, social, behavioural and genetic factors.

More information about I.Family study: http://www.ifamilystudy.eu