Home::The Project::Work Packages
The Project
:: Abstract
:: Objectives
:: Technical Approach
:: Full Researchers List
:: Work Packages
:: Key Issues
:: Achievements & Impacts
Research Groups
Participating Adolescents
News & Events
Public Documents
Staff Login

Tell us what you think!

HELENA will provide, for the first time in Europe, harmonised and comparable data about physical activity and physical fitness among male and female European adolescents.


Work Packages





  • Manage and supervise the project.
  • Liaise with the European Commission.
  • Co-ordinate and chair meetings for Core Group & Steering Committee.
  • Collate scientific reports and minutes of meetings.
  • Monitor progress, targets and achievements.
  • Submit technical and other reports to the European Commission.
  • Provide & distribute scientific reports.
  • Provide a project newsletter and maintain contact with other EU dissemination projects.
  • Visit participating centres and the European Commission.


Good clinical practice. Protection of personal data. Case report form and monitoring


  • To respect Good Clinical Practice and Data Quality Assurance.



European data base management and analysis


  • To develop a standardised format and protocol for data collection, data input, data storage, data management and data transfer in all participating HELENA centres. Separate standard formats will be developed for respectively the cross-sectional survey, the cross-over study and the data from the interventional study.
  • To establish central database architecture and an accompanying protocol for the central storage, analysis and exchange of all data collected in the different HELENA participating centres.
  • To establish a protocol for quality assurance for the different modules of data collection in the HELENA project.
  • To develop a set of public health indicators with respect to adolescents’ nutritional status and physical activity level.
  • To develop a central protocol for statistical analyses for the purpose of testing the basic hypotheses of the HELENA project.
  • To harmonize the format of data output according to the needs of the European Public Health Monitoring Programme initiative of the European Commission.
  • To facilitate the communication and collaboration between the partners and promote cross-disciplinary data exchange and analysis.
  • To ensure the conformity of the data management with the ethical rules and the privacy regulation in the different participating centres across the EU zone.



Selection, dissemination and exploitation of results


  • To disseminate information about the project, its objectives, the approaches and results.
  • To facilitate collaboration and information exchange between different organisations involved in nutrition.
  • To promote the use of technologies and applications resulting from the project among the target groups: researchers, technicians, industry and society.
  • To ensure continuous communication among the project and society, with special focus on consumer associations, administration, and individuals.



Clinical assessment. Inequalities in health


  • To describe clinical and sociodemographic indicators in the adolescent population of Europe.
  • To describe inequalities in health considering social, economic, gender and micro-environmental variables.
  • To assess inequalities for dietary intake, physical activity, and nutritional status.
  • To provide socio-cultural data for the development of the final version of the lifestyle education programme.



Dietary intake, nutrition knowledge and eating attitudes


  • To develop and use an attractive assessment tool in the form of a self-administered computer assisted questionnaire based on the 24hr recall principle.
  • To develop and use a standardized European Food and Nutrient Data Base and a Food Portion Database for calculation of nutrient intakes, including critical nutrients, and of food patterns across Europe.
  • To use the comprehensive fuzzy logic approach to evaluate dietary quality.
  • To assess nutritional knowledge and eating attitudes as background data for dietary intake.
  • To provide dietary intake data for interpretation of biochemical and anthropometric nutritional status data collected in the HELENA study.



Physical activity and fitness


  • To select and adapt (a combination of) suitable methods to assess physical (in) activity level and pattern and physical fitness in adolescents, based on the experience of the centres involved.
  • To assess the validity and reliability of these assessment methods in a sub-sample of the study followed by adjustment and revision accordingly.
  • To train field workers in the aspects of data collection.
  • To carry out the cross-sectional data collection across 10 European partner countries.



Body composition and obesity


  • To describe the prevalence of obesity of adolescents in Europe.
  • To describe body composition and adipose tissue distribution in adolescents of different European countries.
  • To assess the agreement between anthropometric and bioelectrical impedance measurements of body fat with measurements performed with air displacement pletismography.
  • To investigate whether dietary intake or physical activity determines body composition and adipose tissue distribution in adolescents from different European populations.



Haematological, biochemical and immunologic data


  • To analyse those blood parameters that are at risk in the adolescent period, specifically vitamin and iron status.
  • To identify people that are at risk for further nutrition related disorders, specifically cardiovascular disease, diabetes type II, anorexia nervosa.
  • To establish reference values for plasma vitamin concentrations in the adolescent population.
  • To search for biological markers that indicate states of malnutrition in early phases, even at sub clinical level, especially in adolescents depending on the level of physical maturation and other interconnecting factors.



Genetic assessment


  • To provide basic data about the prevalence of the single nucleotide polymorphisms of some candidate genes involved in energy metabolism, lipid and lipoprotein regulation, bone mineral structure, iron metabolism.
  • To assess the possible contribution of these genotypes to phenotypic variability in relation to nutritional habits.



Food choices and preferences


  • To determine attitudes and behaviours regarding food choice among adolescents.
  • To establish what adolescents perceive as being ‘traditional’ foods and to study the desirability and feasibility of reinstating such foods into the diets of EU adolescents.
  • To highlight similarities and differences in attitudes and behaviours between and within countries.
  • To determine the requirements and needs of adolescents regarding the development of attractive healthy foods (packaging, social and cultural context, etc).
  • To provide valuable information for promoting healthy dietary habits to be integrated into the Lifestyle Education Programme.
  • To provide information guiding the preliminary tasks of Work package 12.
  • To provide information to determine the key questions to be included in the food choice and acceptance questionnaire to be presented within the cross-sectional survey.
  • To quantify attitudes and behaviours of adolescents regarding food choice and preference, and examine geographic and demographic differences within European adolescents.



Development of health promoting food products and assessment of their acceptability among adolescents


  • To identify the health promoting modifications that are recommended in foods for adolescents and the options available, e.g. different types of functional ingredients to implement these recommended modifications. The new foods will be traditional ones with some healthy modifications.
  • To carry out product development trials in both laboratory and pilot scale in order to determine optimal formulas and manufacturing conditions. The work will mainly deal with nutritional improvements of existing products.
  • To study both how the new ingredients will interact with the other ingredients in the matrix and what these effects might be on quality characteristics such as sensory profiles and microbiological safety.
  • To carry out acceptability studies in adolescents from different countries.



Development and evaluation of a life style education intervention


  • To develop a cultural relevant, web based, tailored and attractive lifestyle education intervention, focusing on nutrition and physical activity, aiming at optimising the usual eating habits and enhancing the physical activity level of adolescents (13-16 years old).
  • To implement and assess the acceptability, immediate and short term (3 months) effect of the intervention. Main outcome parameters for the impact study: physical activity level; energy intake; fat intake; fibre intake, calcium intake, nutrition knowledge and determinants of nutrition and physical behaviour change.


Multi-centre crossover intervention studies


  • To test the effects of snacks with different glycemic index on metabolic, endocrine and behavioural changes during the postprandial phase.
  • To evaluate the middle term effects of diets with similar composition but different total glycemic index on metabolic, endocrine and behavioural changes.



Designed by Micemultimedia