Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ENDORSE: ENvironmental Determinants of Obesity related behaviours in Rotterdam School ChildrEn; recent results.

Obesity prevalence is high and rising among children and adolescents in most developed countries. For obesity prevention, it is of utmost importance to identify the behavioural and environmental determinants of obesity among youth. The ENDORSE study was specifically designed to gain further insight in which family, school and neighbourhood characteristics predict obesity-related nutrition and physical activity behaviours among adolescents. ENDORSE is a longitudinal study with baseline measurements of BMI, waist circumference, a range of potential obesogenic behaviours, and questionnaire assessments as well as audits and observations of home, school and neighbourhood environments (for a full description of the study design and measurements, please see

Recently two papers based on the baseline measurements of ENDORSE were published by Elling Bere et al. ( and by Klazine van der Horst et al. (

Bere and colleagues explored differences in active commuting to school according to ethnicity and distance to school. Almost 50% of the adolescents reported to actively commute to school on most school days, and mode of commuting was associated with ethnicity and distance. Adolescents from Dutch ethnicity were 5 times as likely to be active commuters to school than youth from foreign ethnicity, and they were especially more likely to cycle to school. Walking to school was common up to a distance of 3k one way, while cycling was common up to a distance of 10k.
Van der Horst et al. explored associations between school environmental factors with soft drinks and snack consumption. Their study indicates that personal factors such as motivation and attitudes are more important for adolescents’ soft drink and snack intakes than availability and accessibility of these foods in the school environment.
These studies again show that different environments may have very different effects for very different energy-balance related behaviours.