The ENERGY Project | World Obesity Federation

The ENERGY Project

ENERGY stands for EuropeaN Energy balance Research to prevent excessive weight Gain among Youth.

There is an urgent need for more carefully developed public health measures to increase specific healthful behaviours in order to halt the obesity epidemic. The ENERGY project will develop an intervention scheme for 10-12 year olds that is both school-based and family-involved. The most important intrinsic and extrinsic factors that determine energy balance health behaviours will be identified through multidisciplinary analysis, and translated into the evidence and theory-based ENERGY intervention.

Through use of the Intervention Mapping protocol, both existing scientific information and secondary analyses will be included and additional research performed. This intervention scheme will be validated for improved capacity to encourage and sustain healthful eating and physical activity behaviours and the results will be disseminated among key stakeholders including researchers, policy makers and the general public. Partial funding for the project is provided by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme.

General objective

The overall aim of the ENERGY project is the development of a new theory and evidence-based multi-component intervention scheme to be implemented across Europe, promoting the adoption or continuation of health behaviours that contribute to a healthy energy balance.

Specific objectives

  • Perform a thorough multidisciplinary analysis of the most important behaviours contributing to energy balance of children and their most important modifiable intrinsic and extrinsic determinants, including personal and social-cultural, physical and financial-economic environmental factors, with a specific focus on the family setting and the school setting;
  • Identify successful intervention schemes and strategies and the factors mediating and moderating these successful schemes in different sub-populations based on age, gender and socio-economic status, including the exploration of financial intervention strategies that can be implemented in schools;
  • Design a multi-component school-based and family involved intervention using obtained insights from the above mentioned analyses;
  • Evaluate the multi component intervention implemented in a controlled settings;
  • Prepare a large scale implementation and a monitoring plan for dissemination of the intervention scheme.


  • Brug J, van Stralen MM, Te Velde SJ, Chinapaw MJ, De Boureaudhuij I, Lien N, Bere E, Maskini V, Singh AS, Maes L, Moreno L, Jan Nm Kovacs E, Lobstein T, Manios Y. Difference in weight status and energy-balance related behaviours among schoolchildren across Europe: the ENERGY-project. PLoS One. 2012, 7(4), e34742. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034742
  • Brug J, Te Velde SJ, Chinapaw MJ, Bere E, De Boureaudhuij I, Moore H, Maes L, Jensen J, Manios Y, Lien N, Klepp KI, Lobstein T, Martens M, Salmon J, Singh AS. Evidence-based development of school-based and family-involved prevention of overweight across Europe: the ENERGY-project's design and conceptual framework. BMC Public Health. 2010, 25, 10:276. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-276.
  • Up4Fun project report – a summary of findings from a pilot intervention in 5 countries, looking at ways to reduce sedentary behaviour among children. 
  • Report from Work Package 2 - A systematic review of identifying the most important energy balance behaviours among children aged 10 to 12 years - and their parents - that are associated with excessive weight gain and being overweight.
  • A large number of scientific papers have been published as part of this project. A full list, including downloads, can be viewed on the energy website