Best-ReMaP Project Concludes With Remarkable Achievements in Combating Childhood Obesity in Europe
After a three-year journey, the Best-ReMaP project, funded by the European Commission, has successfully concluded on the 30th of September 2023, leaving behind a trail of impactful policies and practices aimed at addressing childhood obesity in Europe.
Childhood obesity has emerged as a pressing health concern in Europe, with a staggering 20% of children and adolescents being overweight or obese. Projections suggested that by 2035, these numbers could rise by 61% for boys and 75% for girls, imposing significant economic and health burdens on society.
The Best-ReMaP project recognized the complexity of this issue, driven by factors like genetics, family, communities, and socio-economic status. To combat this problem, the project focused on three key areas:
- Food Reformulation for Healthier Diets: By improving the nutritional content of commonly consumed food products, the project aimed to make healthier choices more accessible and appealing to children. This approach, involving the reduction of harmful ingredients such as sugar, salt, and saturated fat, has the potential to significantly improve the nutritional quality of foods.
- Combating Unhealthy Food Marketing: Unhealthy food marketing significantly influences children’s dietary choices. The project delved into methods to limit the exposure of children to these promotions, aiming to create healthier nutritional environments for them.
- Best Practices in Public Food Procurement: Public food procurement, particularly in schools and kindergartens, was recognized as a powerful tool for shaping children’s dietary habits. The project sought to enhance the quality of food served in these settings through transparent procurement practices.
Throughout its journey, the Best-ReMaP project collaborated closely with health and food policy experts from 24 countries, including 22 EU Member States and two accession countries. This diverse consortium worked tirelessly to create a healthier environment for European children.
One of the project’s standout achievements was the establishment of the Food And Beverages Labels Explorer (FABLE), a web-based nutrition information tool by the European Commission. FABLE hosts data collected by Best-ReMaP experts, allowing citizens and organizations to monitor the nutritional quality of the food supply, incentivize reformulation efforts, and promote healthier food choices.
Additionally, the project tackled policy-level discussions and engaged influential institutions, including Directorates-General of the European Commission, EU agencies, the EU Parliament, and EU Presidency representatives. These Policy Decision Making Forums and Dialogues, along with the Local Stakeholder Events played a pivotal role in fostering enthusiastic and critical discussions that informed policy-making.
While acknowledging the progress made, Best-ReMaP also recognized the challenges ahead, including defining “unhealthy” food, raising public awareness, and addressing regulatory obstacles. The project emphasized the need for continued collaboration, transparency, and innovation in procurement practices and food marketing regulations.
As the Best-ReMaP project concludes, its legacy lives on in the form of recommendations, guidance, and the groundwork laid for forthcoming projects focused on nutrition and health, such as the Joint Action on Preventing Non-Communicable Diseases and the JACARDI Joint Action on Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes.
The Best-ReMaP team extends its gratitude to all stakeholders and partners who contributed to this innovative project, emphasizing that the fight against childhood obesity is a collective effort that requires the involvement of governments, industries, and society as a whole.
For more information and detailed recommendations, please visit the Best-ReMaP website.
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