Transferring an innovation in food and lifestyle education: adaptation of a French obesity prevention methodology in Australia (#158)
In 2010, the “Gastronomical French Meal” became the property of the UNESCO Patrimony of Humanity. The French food model is founded upon taste, social conviviality and rules governing food intake. France’s National Nutrition and Health Program (PNNS, 2001) uses the model to promote healthy habits and prevent obesity and EPODE was developed in 2003 as an affiliated community-based obesity prevention methodology. Childhood overweight/obesity levels in France have decreased from 15.2% (1999) to 14.5% (2007). EPODE has been disseminated globally including to South Australian communities, however there is no literature to inform on preserving the fidelity of the program in different settings.
1) Examine understandings of food cultures and the target environments in FRA and AUS; 2) identify the conditions for cultural transfers in childhood obesity prevention.
This project focuses on the case of transfer of EPODE to its SA version, OPAL (Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle).
Qualitative, in-depth approaches used focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and observations in EPODE and OPAL communities in France and Australia with program coordinators, implementers, children and families.
The French EPODE program is described by its focus on food from sensory and social perspectives. French school environments control children’s food habits by providing balanced meals and banning food from home. Children experience food together and discover new flavours, thus stimulating their curiosity and appreciation for food pleasure. Early Australian results suggest that OPAL has a strong focus upon dichotomies of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, an emphasis on social marketing and an absence of taste experience and food appreciation. Children in Australian schools eat frequently, quickly and often mindlessly.
Reinforcing tradition and taste discovery is essential to child education in France. Australian school environments may act as a barrier to children’s food appreciation and the true adaptation of the EPODE methodology in SA.