Although in the Netherlands the prevalence of overweight/obesity in children seems to stabilize at around 12%, the prevalence has remained high in recent years in groups with a lower socio-economic position (SEP) and children with a non-Dutch background. The differences in percentages are largely due to a higher exposure of groups with a low SEP to adverse conditions in the social and physical environment.
There is a worldwide consensus that the integrated multi-sectoral preventive approach is important in tackling overweight, in which all causative factors are identified and tackled in conjunction. Such an approach takes into account the complex nature of weight development which is influenced by a wide range of determinants at multiple socio-ecological levels. Moreover, it appears that such an integrated approach shows promise in reaching hard-to-reach groups, such as those with a low SES.
It can be difficult for professionals to provide this customization with standard interventions, interventions do not always fit seamlessly with the local context, in which so many factors play a role in view of the complexity of the overweight problem. For these reasons, the recognized interventions, but also the well-substantiated interventions, are often adapted by the professionals during the implementation in daily practice. It is often unclear which components are essential to maintain effectiveness. In practice, there is a need for insight into the effective elements of interventions, so that they can offer tailor-made solutions for the target group and/or setting on the basis of this.
An intervention can be seen as a package of elements that can be divided into generally effective factors (generic effective elements) and specifically effective elements that ensure that that specific intervention has the desired effect (RIVM CGL definition). The WEB-Youth consortium (Effective Elements for Promoting a Healthy Weight in Youth) focuses on identifying the effective elements of the interventions in the RIVM’s Healthy and Active Living database: the themes of overweight, a healthy diet and more exercise among the target group 0-18 years. We start the preliminary study by reaching consensus on the relevant interventions (see the action plan). We conclude the preliminary study by establishing the framework for the research in phase 2.