Skip to toolbar

A brief description of the Feel4Diabetes study

Feel4Diabetes is an EU-funded study (HORIZON2020), under GACD (https://www.gacd.org/research-projects/diabetes/dm08) with a duration of 5 years (2015-2019). Feel4Diabetes is an ongoing evidence-based and potentially cost-effective and scalable school- and community-based intervention, aiming to promote healthy lifestyle and tackle obesity and obesity-related metabolic risk factors for the prevention of type 2 diabetes (T2D) among families from vulnerable groups in six European countries (Figure 1). Vulnerable groups were defined as the overall population in low/middle–income countries (LMICs; Bulgaria, Hungary), families from low-socioeconomic neighbourhoods in high-income countries (HICs; Belgium, Finland) and countries under austerity measures (Greece, Spain).

The Feel4Diabetes multidisciplinary consortium incorporates the necessary expertise on diabetes prevention, behavioural science, nutrition, physical activity, policy and health economics. It consists of 10 partners: 7 universities, 1 research institute, 1 advocacy group and 1 small-medium enterprise, representing European low-middle income, high income and under austerity measures countries.

Using the school setting as an entry point to the community, the Feel4Diabetes-study reached approximately 30,000 children and their families from 221 schools in the six “intervention” countries. Participating families went through a two-stage organized screening (Figure 2). The 1st stage screening was delivered via the school setting with the completion of a self-reported screening tool (i.e. FINDRISC questionnaire) completed by the parents, where more than 12,000 families (one or two parents from each family and at least one child) were actually screened (Table 1). From this screening, 4,513 parents were identified with FINDRISC >10 and referred in a discrete manner for the 2nd stage screening (a more detailed medical checkup) and invited to attend a series of counseling sessions delivered in local community health centers. Some preliminary results from the Fee4Diabetes-study are presented below.

Feel4Diabetes-intervention was implemented for two school years (2016-17 and 2017-18) and included two components; the “all-families” component and the “high-risk families” component.

The “all-families” intervention component was implemented via the school setting by the primary school teachers and in collaboration with the local municipalities targeting all children and their families from the participating schools. The aim of this intervention component was to create a more supportive physical and social environment within the school and the community and promote a healthy and active lifestyle for all children and their families. For the needs of this component the ToyBox school-based family-involved intervention was adapted to better serve the local contextual circumstances in each intervention country.

The “high-risk families” intervention component was targeting only the high-risk families as identified from the 1st screening. These families were invited, in a discrete manner in order to avoid stigmatization of the child and the family, to attend counselling sessions delivered by trained health care professionals in any available local community settings. The number of counselling sessions delivered during the 1st school year was six, while during the 2nd school year one counselling session was delivered followed by a motivational text-message mobile intervention. This component was built on experience and learnings from previous face-to-face and mobile application interventions.

Preliminary results of the Feel4Diabetes study

The following data provide a brief update of the Feel4Diabetes-study’s key achievements during the first two years of the programme’s implementation (2015-2017):
  • A total population of more than 2 million was reached in the participating municipalities
  • More than 20,000 parents were screened
  • 4,513 parents were identified as "high-risk" based on a calculated FINDRISC score>10
  • A total of 3,148 parents and 121 grandparents participated in the medical check-up at baseline
  • 40.6% of parents with type 2 diabetes were previously undetected
  • 62.6% of parents with hypertension were previously undetected
Regarding the two components of the intervention:
  • - The “all-families” intervention component was delivered to more than 17,000 children and their families in the classes of participating schools
  • - The “high-risk families” intervention component was delivered to more than 1,100 families
More information on the Feel4Diabetes-study results can be found in the Publications/ Results section of the website.

The Feel4Diabetes-study has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement n° 643708. Total EU contribution: 2,997,405 euros

Project Coordinator: Prof. Yannis Manios, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Science & Education, Harokopio University
European Commission’s link for the Feel4Diabetes-study: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/194094_en.html
GACD link for the Feel4Diabetes-study: https://www.gacd.org/research-projects/diabetes/dm08