Preventing Obesity across Europe: A call to action

STOP, in collaboration with three other European projects – CO-CREATE, PEN and Joint Action BestReMap – is calling on the EU and national governments to commit to new policies and research investment to help prevent NCDs and improve nutrition and physical activity policies across the region.

Successful policy actions to address physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and sedentary behaviours, all key risk factors for NCDs, are an important part of efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of populations and reduce premature mortality.

The call to action includes the following priority policy areas:

  • Development of new action plans/roadmaps to help address childhood obesity and support healthier populations
  • Transformed systems and strengthened food and physical activity policies to shape environments across Europe
  • Prioritisation given to addressing inequalities and supporting young people
  • Harmonisation of data, evidence generation and full realisation of impact
  • Strengthened stakeholder engagement in policy development, implementation and evaluation

The following research investment needs have been identified:

  • Health research, including long-term funding and project continuation recognising that results and systems change takes time
  • Research on understanding the determinants of health, lived experience, policy processes, policy evaluation and the collection of national and regional data systematically, at fixed intervals.
  • New and existing methodologies to advance our knowledge of policy implementation and impact
  • Focus on and inclusion of high-risk communities in research

Next steps

There are various opportunities across Europe and the European Union to apply new and emerging knowledge and evidence, which can be used to inform better policies at regional and national level., These include work by DG Sante (Health and food safety), Joint Programme Initiative (JPI) and Joint Research Centre (JRC), but also wider sectors including DG EAC (education, youth, sport and culture), DG Connect (AVMSD and marketing of food and beverages), DG Research (supporting knowledge development and translation) and DG Move (mobility and transport).  Most concretely in health, discussions have started on a new EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity and development of EU NCD roadmaps. In addition, this follows publication of a new report on obesity from WHO Euro, new comprehensive recommendations on the prevention and management of obesity through the life course and supporting Acceleration Plan adopted by WHO Member States, and the Geneva Charter for Well-being 2021.

The call to action comes off the back of a joint conference, organised by the four projects. Each of the four projects are exploring different aspects, emerging evidence and policy monitoring, for improving nutrition and physical activity to help prevent childhood obesity, other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and improve the health of populations. These four projects represent the largest, multi-country consortium of projects focused on diet and physical activity in Europe.

The full call to action is available here: Preventing Obesity across Europe: A call to action