Newsletter 4

Disrupting childhood obesity trends across Europe; a joint symposium of CO-CREATE, STOP and PEN

On September 2nd, 2020, EU-projects CO-CREATE, STOP and PEN met at ECO/ICO 2020 for a joint symposium where they discussed how the three projects are trying to address some unresolved challenges around childhood obesity and ensure successful, sustainable outcomes.

Globally, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing. In 2016, it was estimated that 340 million school-age children were living with overweight. In-light of the urgency of the situation, the World Health Assembly established a global target of “no increase in the prevalence of obesity by 2025” [based on 2010 base levels]. However, as flagged by Professor Tim Lobstein, we are far away from achieving these: very few countries are showing better than a fifty-fifty change of meeting the target. In fact, the majority will fail. In Europe, current trends indicate that there will be over 10m children in the region affected by obesity in 2030, highlighting a significant failure to meet the target.

As our current attempts to curb the spread of the childhood obesity epidemic have failed, we now need to move towards implementing comprehensive policies addressing the environments surrounding us. Our joint symposium at ECO/ICO 2020 with three European projects – STOP, PEN and CO-CREATE – aimed to explore how we can address some of these unresolved challenges, while ensuring sustainable outcomes beyond the projects’ duration. These projects are framed around three pillars to bring new, innovative approaches to current childhood and adolescent obesity-related interventions: (i) evidence-based policies, (ii) accountability and (iii) youth engagement. Read our article about our past symposium here.