Thursday, May 17, 2007

25th April – launch of our new project, EU-PREVOB. ‘Tackling the social and economic determinants of nutrition and physical activity for the prevention of obesity across Europe’. Led by my colleague Joceline Pomerleau, it brings together 14 partners from 11 countries, from the UK to Turkey and from Latvia to Bosnia. The aim is to develop a better understanding of the factors underlying variations in diet and physical activity across Europe. Of course we already understand many of these – most obviously people have tended to eat what farmers around them produce, explaining why Cretans eat Greek salads and Mongolians eat fatty sheep’s tails. Similarly, if you live in rural Nepal you have little alternative but to walk if you want to go anywhere while if you live in Los Angeles you risk being arrested for suspicious behaviour if you try to walk on the streets. The challenge, which links closely to our work on the PURE project (see earlier blog) is to locate other settings on these scales and to assess their direction of travel. For example, Ireland was once closer (gastronomically) to Mongolia than to Crete but is moving steadily towards the latter. If we can develop an appropriate instrument then we should be able to obtain some fascinating results.

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