A Geographic perspective of the impact of the economic crisis on childhood obesity (PhD)

Childhood Obesity is increasing worldwide and is a major public health concern due to its consequences throughout life. A thorough understanding of the determinants of obesity is important for the development of scientific-based preventive interventions. Socioeconomic inequalities impact health in various ways and, in Portugal they have increased during the European economic crisis. Broader social inequalities seem to contribute to increase childhood obesity rates. Research in this matter benefits from using the Social Ecological Model (SEM) which categorizes health determinants in different levels and serves as theoretical framework in both quantitative and qualitative studies. This study aims to deepen the knowledge about the processes by which the environment determinants, namely the social, economic and built environment, impact childhood obesity during and after the 2008-2014 economic crisis in Portugal. The relation between the environment features and obesity were objectively assessed and municipality level initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles in children were analyzed, at different SEM levels. Quantitative data analysis was performed using GIS which allows the joining, management and analysis of large datasets from different sources and levels and qualitative data analysis was used to analyze municipality programs aiming to promote healthy lifestyles in children thus, preventing obesity during childhood. 

Duration: 2016-2020

Coordinator (PI): Margarida Pereira (CIAS)

Participants: Helena Nogueira (as Supervisor, CIAS), Cristina Padez (as Co-Supervisor, CIAS),

Funding: Portuguese national funding agency for science, research and technology (Portugal)

Reference: SFRH/BD/133140/2017