Press release - November 2021

Science and policy together to tackle childhood obesity

Conference on Policy Solutions for Childhood Obesity: From science to policy implementation provides the latest insights into the results of two European projects – STOP and JA Best-ReMaP – on reducing obesity in children

Childhood obesity has become one of the most pressing public health concerns of our time. In 2017, 29% of boys and 27% of girls aged 6–9 years in Europe were overweight or obese and Covid-19 has contributed to the increased obesity trends in children. These children are likely to stay obese in adulthood and more likely to develop non-communicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age. Therefore, scientists, healthcare professionals and health policy-makers join forces to identify, evaluate and implement effective approaches to prevent childhood obesity and reduce disease risk.

As the side event of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, a high-level event on food policy will be organised online on 17th and 18th of November 2021. The conference will link two projects, the Science & Technology in childhood Obesity Policy (STOP) Horizon 2020 research project, and the Joint Action on Best Practices in Nutrition (JA Best-ReMaP), both aiming at the reduction of obesity rates with special focus on children and adolescents. The conference of the two projects will be organized as a joint high-level event, based on the idea to facilitate the translation of research knowledge into policy implementation.

The STOP project is aiming to generate scientifically sound and policy-relevant evidence on the factors, that have contributed to the spread of childhood obesity. They also examine the effects of alternative policy options available to address the problem, such as food reformulation and limiting food marketing. A range of key actors in the health and food sector in the EU is contributing to this work.

JA Best-ReMaP brings together food authorities and other relevant stakeholders of the Member States. It is working with good practices in the areas of food reformulation, reducing food marketing to children and public procurement of healthy food in public settings. By adapting, replicating and implementing effective health interventions they would like to contribute to an increased offer of healthier food options available to children in EU markets.

The joint conference – building on the synergies of the two projects – will contribute to the recommendations addressed to national authorities and the European Commission for future policy actions to effectively decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity.

The conference webpage is available here.

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