A balanced diet and regular physical activity are essential for good health. Today, however, Europeans are consuming too much in calories and moving too little. Children in Europe are increasingly affected by overweight and obesity. Many important risk factors for premature death such as blood pressure, cholesterol, Body Mass Index and diabetes relate to how we eat, drink and move. For these reasons, nutrition and physical activity are key priorities in the European Union Public Health policies.
Against this background, the Union feels the need to pool synergies and resources by involving all stakeholders, including the food and advertising industries, civil society and the media. Major objectives to be achieved are increasing awareness and improving habits relating to nutrition and physical activity. The European Platform for Action on Diet and Physical Activity has the aim of bringing together key EU-level representatives of the food, retail, catering, and advertising industries, consumer organisations and health NGOs. It acts as a forum for all those capable of committing themselves to action.
In May 2007, the European Commission adopted a White Paper on a strategy for combating overweight and obesity, combining actions in areas such as agriculture, transport, sport and education, as well as public health and food. The strategy re-emphasises the Platform as one model for better partnerships at national and local levels, and brings together a new High Level Group, comprised of government representatives of each Member State.