Health, demographic change and wellbeing - Feel4Diabetes


Feel4Diabetes stands for “Families across Europe following a hEalthy Lifestyle FOR diabetes prevention” and is a project aiming to develop, implement and evaluate an evidence-based and potentially cost-effective and scalable intervention program to prevent type 2 diabetes across Europe, primarily focusing on families from vulnerable groups. Therefore, the program implements a community-based intervention to create a more supportive social and physical environment for lifestyle changes in 6 European countries: Belgium, Finland, Greece, Spain, Hungary, and Bulgaria. The project is coordinated by Harokopio University of Athens (Greece) and runs from December 2014 to August 2019.

Feel4DiabetesThe project focuses on families, because risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes tend to cluster within a family since its members share common genetic background, lifestyle habits, social and physical environment. Promoting healthy behaviors and supportive environmental changes when the family is approached as a whole seems to be more effective compared to targeting the family members individually. This approach is also more cost-effective, since three generations are simultaneously approached and the older individuals might be further motivated to adopt the desired behaviours for the benefit of the younger family members. The project focuses on vulnerable groups since the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is higher in low and middle income countries and among low socioeconomic groups in the high-income countries. Therefore, these vulnerable groups need to be identified and prioritized.
The intervention involves three different levels, namely the community level, the school level and the family level and consisted of 2 intervention years (2016-2017 and 2017-2018). At the community level health-related activities in the neighborhood for both children and parents are promoted. At the school level, primary school teachers and head masters receive an information session on how they could promote physical activity, healthy snacking, drinking water and reduce sedentary behavior among children at the school setting. This information is summarized in a teachers’ guide, which teachers receive at the end of the information session. The intervention at family level is organized only for families of which at least one of the parents had an increased risk for the development of T2D. In the first intervention year, parents participate in 6 information and counseling sessions. Trained researchers proved information on energy balance related behaviours (physical activity, sedentary behavior and eating behaviours). In the second intervention year, parents receive text messages with suggestions and tips on the energy balance related behaviours.


Feel4Diabetes is aiming to:
•    Identify the communities with vulnerable groups within the six participating European countries.
•    Develop, implement and evaluate a low-cost and applicable in low resource settings school and community-based intervention, aiming to create a more supportive social and physical environment and promote healthy lifestyle changes for children and their families.
•    Identify high-risk families for type 2 diabetes within these communities and support them in adopting a healthier lifestyle for them and their children.
•    Disseminate the results of the study and develop recommendations for health policy makers, aiming at embedding the learnings derived from the project into policies and practices on a local, national and international level.

Role of Ghent University

Ghent University is WP leader and implements and evaluates the Feel4Diabetes-intervention in Flanders.



Prof. Dr. Greet Cardon
Department of Movement and Sports Sciences
Phone number: +3292649142