Why is Mars interested in the EPODE approach?
Our French Mars associates followed up with great interest the success story of Epode initiated in 2 small towns (Fleurbaix and Laventie) in the North of France in 1992, and today it is implemented in more than 220 towns. This 8 year school based intervention study was the first demonstration that integrating nutritional education into school programs could modify children's and their families' eating habits. The 4 following years combining the same type of school intervention with broader community based actions confirm the influence of such program involving the whole population in modifying obesity prevalence. This Fleurbaix-Laventie experience has always been mentioned as THE reference study for the prevention of childhood obesity in the course of Mars health & nutrition discussions.
Why is Mars supporting the EPODE European Network (EEN)?
For Mars being present in all European markets, it appeared obvious that it would be relevant to contribute to the implementation of such efficient Community based Intervention programs all across Europe. At Mars we are convinced that only a holistic approach with the maximum of actors can reverse the current obesity trend on a long-term basis. Obesity is a multi-factorial disease, therefore the Epode approach combining educational programs, practical lessons (cooking, markets visits, manufacturing or agricultural food production visits...), promotion of physical activity, city involvement and main determinants of life habits construction is really the most appropriate strategy to achieve positive results on a long-term basis. The private-public partnership is the most efficient way to tackle such a public health issue. This is why Mars showed a strong interest in contributing to set up the EPODE EUROPEAN NETWORK and associating its name to this network.
This support is fully in line with Mars social responsability
Since the 1960s Mars has been a pioneer promoting a healthy lifestyle across Europe. Today, we have a nutrition & health strategy with seven pillars (renovate our portfolio, reduce portion sizes, innovate, inform the consumer, practice a responsible marketing, promote a varied and balanced diet and an active way of life, support research and effective programs for a better health of our consumers) – this is perfectly coherent with Epode methodology. As a member of CIAA, Mars is active at the EU Platform on Diet, Physical activity and Health that has also highlighted the necessity of working in a multi-partnership way involving all sectors of society both in the public and private domains. Mars is proud to bring both financial support and intellectual contribution through its active participation in the activities of the committees led by 4 European universities. Mars would recommend to all partners involved in EPODE to communicate the EPODE achievements even better in the future.
Link to Mars Corporate website: www.mars.com