Research Projects

 

1.Research into sedentary behavior


2.Research into the environmental determinants of physical activity among children, adolescents, adults and older adults


3.The use of pedometers to measure physical activity and as a motivational tool and the implementation-evaluation of interventions based on the 10 000-steps project


4.Computer-tailored interventions to promote  physical activity and a healthy diet


5. Interventions for the prevention of overweight and obesitas in children
5.1. Project ToyBox: Effectiveness of an intervention for the prevention of overweight in preschool children
5.2. IDEFICS and POP project: Community interventions to promote physical activity and healthy diet in children.
5.3. Project ENERGY: development of an intervention to prevent overweight in 10- to 12-year-old children


6.Influence of parenting skills and the self-efficacy of parents on the healthy behavior of their primary schoolchildren


7.Research into use of serious games for health promotion


8.Project ‘Levenslijn’: more and safer mobility in children


9.Research into physical activity among individuals with breast cancer


10.Registration, patterns and determinants of physical activity in different age groups (preschoolers, elementary school children, adolescents, (young)-adults, seniors)

 

1. Research into sedentary behavior

Charlene Veldeman, Cedric Busschaert, Dr. Katrien De Cocker

One project will develop an intervention, aiming to reduce total sedentary time and prolonged periods of sitting in white-collar-workers and managers in companies situated in Flanders. This intervention will focus on replacing sitting by light physical activity (standing, walking). Implementation will occur at 3 levels: individual, group and policy level. The intervention will be evaluated by movement sensors (ActivPALs) and surveys.
An additional project will develop, implement and evaluate an online computer-tailored intervention to reduce sedentary behaviors. After pilot-testing the program, the intervention will be evaluated conducting a 3-group randomized controlled trial. Short (3 months)- and long (12 months)-term effects of participants receiving (1) computer-tailored advice, (2) standard advice and (3) no advice will be compared. Finally, a process evaluation will be executed to provide the primary prevention field with new evidence-based insights.
Furthermore determinants of sedentary behavior, reasons why people are sedentary, will be investigated in a longitudinal research (3 year). Sedentary behavior will not only be measured through screen-related behaviors, but also other contexts will be included (like motorized transport, household chores,…). A self-developed questionnaire, validated with movement sensors (accelerometers, ActivPALs) will be used to determine the behavior and determinants of a Flemish sample (Belgium). Besides sedentary behavior, determinants of light physical activities will be gathered, so that these physical feasible activities can be implemented in future interventions. This project will not only focus on adults, but also adolescents and seniors will be included.



2. Research into the environmental determinants of physical activity among children, adolescents, adults and older adults

Veerle Van Holle, Dr. Delfien Van Dyck, Femke De Meester, Sara D’Haese, Jelle Van Cauwenberg, Lieze Mertens, Sofie Compernolle

Research in children, adolescents, adults and older adults to examine the relationship between the physical environment, physical activity, sedentary behaviors and eating habits. Based on GIS coding, Google Streetview, questionnaires and observations, environments are classified as ‘high walkable’ and ‘low walkable’ environments. Studies examining these associations are BEPAS-Child, BEPAS-Youth, BEPAS-Adults, BEPAS-Seniors and Spotlight. In children, also the contribution of the school and home environment to explain physical activity and sedentary behaviors is examined.
Research to examine the effect of changes in the environment to explain physical activity and sedentary behaviors. By conducting longitudinal studies, we examine the evolution of physical activity, sedentary behaviors and their determinants in children who make the transition from primary to secondary school, in students who make the transition from secondary school to college/university and in older adults who make the transition to retirement. In community-dwelling older adults, the effect of changes in the physical environment on physical activity and sedentary behaviors are examined in a 3-year longitudinal study.
Research to examine the critical environmental factors that can stimulate middle-aged and older adults for active transportation. Through an experimental analysis using photographs, we examine if manipulations of specific environmental characteristics (Photoshop) can cause a change in the environmental invitingness for transport-related cycling and walking.
Development and implementation of an intervention to stimulate active living (sufficient physical activity and limited sedentary time) in older adults. In this intervention, a specific focus lies in the promotion of opportunities to be active in the neighbourhood environment.
Development and validation of a questionnaire to assess physical environmental correlates of physical activity in Europe (ALPHA-project).
Financing: BOF, Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), EU-projects
www.ipenproject.org
www.thealphaproject.eu
www.spotlightproject.eu



3. The use of pedometers to measure physical activity and as a motivational tool and the implementation-evaluation of interventions based on the 10 000-steps project

Dr. Katrien De Cocker

The use of pedometers and the ’10.000 steps/day’ concept to promote physical activity was being investigated in this project. Besides methodological aspects, also the effectiveness of interventions on the micro- (individual), meso- (workplaces) and micro- (community) level was evaluated.
The implementation on a larger scale (10.000 Steps Flanders) was also examined using the RE-AIM framework (Reach, Efficacy, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance).




4. Computer-tailored interventions to promote  physical activity and a healthy diet

Jolien Plaete, Dr. Katrien De Cocker, Sofie Compernolle

Development, evaluation and implementation of online, tailored intervention tools to promote physical activity and nutrition status. Different programs were developed based on different theories (stages of change, self-regulation theory, …). Based on an online assessment, participants receive tailored feedback on how to improve their health status. The intervention tools that are based on the self-regulation theory are developed to help people to make their own choices and own strategies through the development of their own action plan to reach their own goals. These interventions will be implemented through different channels (work floor, primary care, general practice, …).



5. Intervention for the prevention of overweight and obesitas in children


5.1. Project ToyBox: Effectiveness of an intervention for the prevention of overweight in preschool children

Marieke De Craemer, Ellen Dedecker

Development and implementation of an intervention for the prevention of overweight and obesity in preschoolers, within a European project. Multi-disciplinary analyses will be used to identify main behaviours of preschoolers that are related to overweight. Behaviour based research will be used to explain the reasons why preschoolers eat certain food and why they do or do not participate in physical activity. The intervention has four main focuses: decrease preschoolers’ sedentary behaviour, increase preschoolers’ physical activity levels and healthy eating (increase the water intake and the intake of healthy snacks). The intervention will be implemented in six different European countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, Greece and Poland).

In the ToyBox project, different intervention material will be used by preschool teacher in the intervention preschools. Next to the school environment, also parents in the home environment will be included in this project. The ToyBox material consists of (1) a general teachers’ guide, (2) a guide with different classroom activities and (3) tip cards, newsletters and posters to be handed out to the parents. The printed material, the hand puppet that will be used in the preschools and the material for the physical activity part will be included in a (toy)box, specifically designed for this project.
www.toybox-study.eu



5.2. IDEFICS and POP project: Community interventions to promote physical activity and healthy diet in children.

Vera Verbestel

Research projects aiming to investigate the possibilities to promote physical activity and a healthy diet through existing channels within communities. Effect and process evaluation were conducted to assess the implementation of a healthy lifestyle program for children between 1 and 10 year old.
Projects financed by the European commission and the Flemish Policy Research Centre for Welfare, Health and Family.
www.ideficsstudy.eu
www.steunpuntwvg.be



5.3. Project ENERGY: development of an intervention to prevent overweight in 10- to 12-year-old children

Maïté Verloigne

The project aim was to develop an intervention to prevent overweight in 10- to 12-year-old children. The intervention was located at the school with parental involvement. The intervention was systematically developed by conducting systematic reviews of the literature, performing secondary data analyses and executing new cross-sectional research in eight European countries.

The intervention focused on decreasing sedentary behaviour at school and at home with a specific focus on television watching and computer use. The intervention duration was 6 weeks with every week a specific theme on sedentary behaviour. The intervention was conducted in five European countries, including Belgium.
www.project-energy.eu



6. Influence of parenting skills and the self-efficacy of parents on the healthy behavior of their primary schoolchildren

Sara De Lepeleere

Examine the influence of parents on the healthy behavior of primary schoolchildren (diet, physical activity and sedentary behavior). Both general and specific parenting skills, linked to the health behavior of the child, will be studied. Moreover, the self-efficacy of parents and the mutual influence of parents on their children and children on their parents will be recorded.
www.vigez.be
www.expoo.be



7. Research into use of serious games for health promotion

Ann DeSmet

Research into the effects of serious games for health promotion (physical activity, healthy diet, mental health, social behaviour) in adolescents. Effects and key features to increase the effectiveness are examined in a systematic review and in surveys.



8. Project ‘Levenslijn’: more and safer mobility in children

Fabian Ducheyne, Griet Vanwolleghem

The project ‘Levenslijn’ investigates more and safer mobility in Flemish elementary school children.
First, the project aims to develop an evidence-based intervention to promote more and safer active transportation in elementary school children. Based on integrated ecological models individual, social and environmental determinants related to transportation choices in Flemish children, parents and schools are investigated and whether they are affected by the traffic and mobility policy of the school. Also, the cycling skills of Flemish children are identified and the isolated effect of the cycling skills is evaluated.
The main study involves a randomized controlled trial in the 4th - 6th grade, in which the effects of a multi-factorial intervention are evaluated.
In addition, environmental factors along a cycling route to school (e.g. number of crossings, presence of separate cycling lanes) in relation to active transportation in 10 to 12 year old children are investigated. Those physical environmental factors are import for children to commute more active and safer to school. Innovative and objective methods are used, such as Google Street View and Global Position Systems devices, to identify the exact cycling route and the physical environmental factors along these specific cycling routes.
A last point is studying the feasibility and effectiveness of step spots in promoting active transportation to school. “Step spots” may offer a solution for children who are dropped off by car at the school to increase their daily active transportation. Parents can drop off their child at a step spot, which is located on a feasible walking distance from the school. From this step spot children can walk to school under supervision of teachers, parents, or other volunteers.



9. Research into physical activity among individuals with breast cancer

Dr. Katrien De Cocker

Personal and cancer-related determinants of physical activity in post-treatment women were investigated in order to develop an intervention website providing tailored physical activity advice based on models of behaviour change. This intervention will be evaluated.



10. Registration, patterns and determinants of physical activity in different age groups (preschoolers, elementary school children, adolescents, (young)-adults, seniors)

Prof. Dr. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
Prof. Dr. Greet Cardon
Prof. Dr. Philippaerts Renaat
Prof. Dr. Lefevre Johan
Prof. Dr. De Martelaer Kristine
Tineke Scheers

Methods to measure physical activity (pedometers, accelerometers, questionnaires) and to determine physical activity in different age groups using questionnaires and more innovative methods such as SenseCam, GPS and GIS, are investigated in this research area. The different intensities of physical activity (light, moderate, vigorous), differences between days of the week (week versus weekend) and differences within days (school hours versus after-school hours) are examined in the different age groups.
Furthermore, the personal determinants as well as the environmental determinants of physical activity in the home, school and work floor environment are determined.
As last, on the authority of the Flemish government and the Flemish Policy Research Centre for culture, youth and sports, a large scale study is conducted to investigate the participation in sports and other behavior during leisure time among the Flemish population.