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.
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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.