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EPODE

The Healthy Kids Community Challenge is based on the EPODE methodology. EPODE stands for Ensemble Prévenons l'Obesité des Enfants - Together Let's Prevent Childhood Obesity.
EPODE began in France, where it has reduced the number of overweight and obese children by 36% in the 12 years since it was first implemented. It has been recognized by the World Healthy Organization as an international best practice in obesity prevention.
Learn more by visiting EPODE Canada or EPODE International Network

EPODE Methodology

EPODE is a coordinated, capacity-building approach aimed at reducing childhood obesity through a societal process in which local environments, childhood settings and family norms are directed and encouraged to facilitate the adoption of healthy lifestyles in children (i.e. the enjoyment of healthy eating, active play and recreation).

EPODE philosophy is based on multiple components, including a positive approach to

tackling obesity, with no cultural or societal stigmatisation; step-by-step learning, and an experience of healthy lifestyle habits, tailored to the needs of all socio-economic groups.

EPODE target groups are children, families and local stakeholders. Through initiatives and a long-term programme, stakeholders foster and promote healthy lifestyles in families in a sustainable manner.

The EPODE four pillars (a strong political commitment, support services inspired from social marketing techniques, Mobilization of resources including Public-Private Partnerships and Evidence including a multidisciplinary Evaluation) have been sub-divided into ten EPODE implementation principles, which describe the EPODE methodology :

Each country (or region) commits to a central coordination support/capacity;

  1. Each local community has a formal political commitment for several years from the outset;
  2. Each local community has a dedicated local project manager with sufficient capacity and crosssectoral >mandate for action;
  3. A multi-stakeholder approach is integral to the central and local structures and processes;
  4. An approach to action is planned and coordinated using social marketing. This is specifically to define a series of themed messages and actions, informed by evidence, from a wide variety of sources, and in line with official recommendations;
  5. Local stakeholders are involved in the planning processes and are trusted with sufficient flexibility to adapt actions to local context
  6. The “right message” is defined for the whole community. However, getting the message “right” means tailoring for different stakeholders and audiences;
  7. Messages and actions are solution-oriented and designed to motivate positive changes and not to stigmatise any culture or behaviours;
  8. Strategies and support services are designed to be sustainable and backed by policies and
    environmental changes.
  9. Evaluation and monitoring are implemented at various levels. This is achieved through the collection of information on process, output and outcomes indicators, and informs the future development of the programme.
  10. In each country or region, EPODE promotes the involvement of a multi-level and multiple stakeholders approach at central level (endorsement from ministries, support from health groups, NGOs , and private partners) and benefits from the expertise and guidance of an independent scientific advisory board that provides general recommendations related to the implementation and the transferability of the methodology in other contexts (see fig. 1). To put the EPODE methodology into practice, a central coordination team, using social marketing and organisational techniques, trains and coaches a local project manager appointed in each community by the local political leader (e.g. the Mayor) able to champion the programme The role of the local project manager is to mobilise a multifaceted local steering committee and, by peer-to-peer dynamics, a diversity of local stakeholders especially in schools, pre-schools, extracurricular organizations and social network of associations, which are key settings to implement activities with children and families. So, the city or town is at the heart of the system The whole aim is to have childhood obesity reduced by local environments, childhood settings and family norms all being strongly supportive of children enjoying healthy eating, active play and recreation. The social mobilisation group dynamics, involving a wide diversity of local stakeholders should play a role in impacting on local living conditions of the family, in order to facilitate the adoption of healthier lifestyles. In each country or region, EPODE promotes the involvement of a multi-level and multiple stakeholders approach at central level (endorsement from ministries, support from health groups, NGOs , and private partners) and benefits from the expertise and guidance of an independent scientific advisory board that provides general recommendations related to the implementation and the transferability of the methodology in other contexts (see fig. 1). To put the EPODE methodology into practice, a central coordination team, using social marketing and organisational techniques, trains and coaches a local project manager appointed in each community by the local political leader (e.g. the Mayor) able to champion the programme. The role of the local project manager is to mobilise a multifaceted local steering committee and, by peer-to-peer dynamics, a diversity of local stakeholders especially in schools, pre-schools, extracurricular organizations and social network of associations, which are key settings to implement activities with children and families. So, the city or town is at the heart of the system. The whole aim is to have childhood obesity reduced by local environments, childhood settings and family norms all being strongly supportive of children enjoying healthy eating, active play and recreation. The social mobilisation group dynamics, involving a wide diversity of local stakeholders should play a role in impacting on local living conditions of the family, in order to facilitate the adoption of healthier lifestyles.

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