Nutrition and physical activity
Strategy on nutrition, overweight and obesity-related health issues
In particular, the strategy:
- Encompasses a range of Commission policiesthat can be, and are being marshalled towards the purpose of improving nutrition and preventing overweight and obesity; examples (non-exhaustive) of some of these policy areas can be found listed in the table below:
DG/ Policy Area Initiative / Project Health and Food Safety - Food Safety Food Labelling
Health and Nutrition Claims
Agriculture School Fruit Scheme
School milk scheme
Information Society – Audiovisual media services Audiovisual Media Services Directive Research Research projects in food, nutrition and health
FP 6 projects
Transport Clean Urban Transport Regional Policy European regional development fund (ERDF) Education and Culture
- Encourages more action-oriented partnershipsacross the EU, involving key stakeholders working in the field of nutrition: the private sector, Member States, the European Commission and the WHO.
- Sets out a series of challenges to relevant stakeholdersat all levels, notably the food industry, civil society and the media, by calling for widespread food reformulation schemes and responsible advertising.
- Sets out the Commission's plans to strengthen monitoring and reportingof the situation, in collaboration with the WHO, through initiatives such as the Nutrition Policy Database or the International inventory of documents on physical activity promotion.
Actions outlined in the strategy are based on sound scientific evidence showing relations between certain dietary and physical activity patterns and risk factors for certain chronic diseases. However, the strategy also outlines the need for further research in this area, and moreover underlines the central role of the Commission in facilitating partnerships and taking the lead in establishing a common framework for action.
Relevant health information can be found on the Public Health website under Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes, or by browsing the European Core Health Indicators (ECHI).
Further information - Strategy Background / Precedents
Over the past years, most action in the field of obesity prevention has been spontaneous and unilateral. This has often deprived other potential partners of participation and validation of opportunities, thus diminishing the actual value added of such initiatives. The need to create a systematic and transparent process was recognised, whereby:
- outcomes of individual actors' performances can be reported and reviewed;
- experience can be pooled and synergies can be created;
- firm commitments to action are made;
- Commitments are validated and receive credit as appropriate.
The White Paper builds on recent initiatives undertaken by the Commission, in particular:
- the EU Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health , set up in March 2005 with the purpose of creating a forum for actors at European level who are willing to commit themselves to engaging in concrete actions designed to contain or reverse current trends.
- the Green Paper Promoting healthy diets and physical activity: a European dimension for the prevention of overweight, obesity and chronic diseases
Since the adoption of the White Paper, the High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity has been set up to strengthen the role of governments in counteracting overweight and obesity.