Inventory of surveillance systems assessing dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviours in Europe: A DEDIPAC study

Silvia Bel-Serrat, Inge Huybrechts, Barbara F. Thumann, Antje Hebestreit, Peter M. Abuja, Stefaan De Henauw, Carine Dubuisson, Thorsten Heuer, Celine M. Murrin, Giacomo Lazzeri, Caroline Van Rossum, Lene F. Andersen, Robert Szeklicki, Jesús Vioque, Rachel Berry, Hidde P. Van Der Ploeg, Wolfgang Ahrens, Nadia Slimani*, DEDIPAC Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: There is a need for harmonized public health surveillance systems to monitor regional variations and temporal trends of health behaviours and health outcomes and to align policies, action plans and recommendations in terms of healthy diet and physical (in)activity within Europe. We provide an inventory of currently existing surveillance systems assessing diet, physical activity, and sedentary behaviours in Europe as a tool to assist in the identification of gaps and needs and to contribute to the roadmap for an integrated pan-European surveillance system. Methods: An inventory questionnaire was completed by representatives of eleven European countries. Eligible surveillance systems were required to meet specific inclusion criteria. First, pre-screening of available surveillance systems in each country was conducted. Second, an in-depth appraisal of the retained surveillance systems complying with the pre-defined requirements was performed. Results: Fifty surveillance systems met the inclusion criteria: six multinational European surveys and forty-four national surveys. Dietary intake and physical activity are the domains predominantly assessed and adults are the most frequently studied age group. Conclusions: Many ongoing activities were identified at the national level focussing on adults, but fewer surveillance systems involving vulnerable groups such as infants and pre-school children. Assessment of sedentary and dietary behaviours should be more frequently considered. There is a need for harmonization of surveillance methodologies, indicators and target populations for between-country and over time comparisons. This inventory will serve to feed future discussions within the DEDIPAC-JPI major framework on how to optimize design and identify priorities within surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-755
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Cite this