Childhood obesity has grown to become one of the most dramatic features of the global obesity epidemic, with dire long-term consequences on health, social and economic outcomes. Obesity has spread to more than one in ten children aged 5-19 throughout southern Europe, in parts of central-eastern Europe and in the United Kingdom, with more than one in three children overweight in countries such as Greece, Malta and Italy. The spread of obesity has been fuelled by changes in social norms and living environments that have led to excessive and imbalanced nutrition, sedentary lifestyles, and ultimately obesity and the diseases associated with it.
Watch the video below to learn more about childhood obesity:
STOP (Science and Technology in childhood Obesity Policy), a Horizon 2020-funded project to tackle childhood obesity, aims at expanding and consolidating the multi-disciplinary evidence base upon which effective and sustainable policies can be built to prevent and manage childhood obesity. The primary focus of STOP is on the cumulative impacts of multiple and synergistic exposures in vulnerable and socially disadvantaged children and their families, which must be a priority target for the fight against childhood obesity in Europe. STOP will identify critical stages in childhood (starting from prenatal exposures) at which interventions can be most effective and efficient.
Over a four-year period (2018-21), the STOP project will generate scientifically sound, novel and policy-relevant evidence on the factors that have contributed to the spread of childhood obesity in European countries and on the effects of alternative technological and organisational solutions and policy options available to address the problem.
The STOP project will translate the evidence gathered and generated into:
- A comprehensive set of indicators and a measurement framework for the epidemiological surveillance of relevant dimensions of childhood obesity, its determinants and actions to address it in all European countries;
- Policy briefs and toolkits providing practical guidance and tools for the design and the implementation of key policies;
- A viable multi-stakeholder framework based on effective communication and negotiation approaches, a sound use of the existing evidence base, and appropriate mechanisms for setting targets, monitoring progress and evaluating actions.
In line with the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) and with the EU Joint Action on Nutrition and Physical Activity (JANPA), STOP will adopt a life course and intergenerational perspective, assessing the role of determinants of childhood obesity before birth and in the earliest years of life, as well as the role of parenting and parental lifestyles, and the long-term links between childhood obesity, adult obesity and disease throughout the life course. STOP will emphasise the environmental dimension of childhood obesity, recognising the role of different environments surrounding children as major contributors to obesity, and the diverse characterisations of obesity, with a special emphasis on those associated with the most detrimental outcomes in vulnerable and socially disadvantaged children.
The project brings together major health and food sector actors, including scientists, health professionals, government policy makers, national public health agencies, international organisations, civil society and business organisations. STOP will establish new ways for policy-relevant evidence to be generated, made available and used in the design and implementation of effective and sustainable solutions for childhood obesity at the EU, national and local levels.
STOP is a consortium of twenty-four key actors in the health and food sectors, supported by seven third-party organisations, working together to generate scientifically sound and policy-relevant evidence on the factors that have contributed to the spread of childhood obesity in European countries and on the effects of alternative policy options available to address the problem.
Click on the links below to learn more:
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For media enquiries please contact:
Professor Franco Sassi, STOP Project Principal Investigator
Imperial College Business School London
Laura Singleton, Media and PR Officer
Imperial College Business School London
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The video above is courtesy of the project's coordinator, Imperial College, London