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Public Health (28-02-2014)

Member States agree Plan to tackle Childhood Obesity

This week, at a conference in Athens on Nutrition and Physical Activity, organised by the Greek Presidency, Member States announced the agreement of the High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity (1) on a European action plan targeting childhood obesity. The action plan puts forward voluntary initiatives to support a healthy start in life, promote healthier environments - especially in schools and preschools, restrict marketing and advertising for children, inform and empower families, encourage physical activity, and increase research. As such, it substantially adds to related ongoing initiatives aimed at reducing salt, fats and added sugar in processed food, and promoting balanced diets and active lifestyles. Link to Action Plan.

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the EU. Around one in three children aged six to nine were overweight or obese in 2010 versus one in four children in 2008. Children who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of poor health later in life. Obesity leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even premature death. Every year, 2.8 million citizens lose their lives to weight-related diseases. Obesity and overweight also have a financial impact, with Member States estimating that 7% of their healthcare budgets go towards treating weight-related problems.

For more information on the Commission’s policy on nutrition and physical activity:

(1) reserve by NL