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Health - Taking the temperature of European healthcare
"To enhance understanding of the factors causing and reducing obesity in order to optimise obesity prevention policy."

The problem

Being obese or significantly overweight are major causes of poor health and health disparities in Europe. Their prevalence is increasing, with rates doubling in some countries over recent decades. Weight gain is a result of an imbalance between food intake and physical activity, but knowledge concerning underlying determinants is limited and information about obesity prevention interventions is scattered. A systematic and integrated approach is needed to better understand interventions and the factors determining obesity, and to translate this knowledge into effective obesity prevention policy.

HOPE  Digesting the facts to shape obesity prevention policy


HOPE addresses the need for an improved understanding of how nutrition and physical activity determine weight.

The project will:

  • Create a European framework for integrating knowledge on obesity
  • Identify the important socio-economic and environmental determinants of obesity in the home, in schools, and in the workplace
  • Establish intervention approaches aimed at obesity prevention and reducing the inequalities in obesity-related health risks
  • Develop scenarios to forecast the impact of obesity prevention interventions for children, adolescents and adults

Contribution to policy development:

  • HOPE will enhance knowledge of environmental and socio-economic determinants of obesity to support the development and implementation of systematic, evidence-based obesity prevention policies at national and EU level.
  • Its analysis of ongoing obesity prevention interventions in Europe will help to identify effective strategies.
  • It will identify sources of information to facilitate appropriate health promotion efforts, education and consumer advice.

Project deliverables

  • Inventory of existing obesity prevention interventions in Europe – May 2008
  • Systematic reviews of the role of nutrition and physical exercise in causing and preventing obesity – July 2008
  • Reports on the effectiveness of obesity prevention policies (such as nutrition interventions in schools and the workplace) and on the key determinants of obesity – June 2009
  • Identification of entry-points for prevention of obesity in children and adolescents and policy recommendations – June 2009
  • Dynamic simulation models of obesity, taking into account age and socio-economic grouping – June 2009


  • Project website – June 2007
  • Progress reports and final reports – June 2007, January 2008, July 2008, May 2009, June 2009
  • Disseminate inventories of nutrition interventions and checklist for effective interventions – January 2009
  • Peer-reviewed papers submitted to scientific journals – January 2009
  • Policy recommendations fact sheet – June 2009

Technical information

Project acronym: HOPE
Project’s official full title: Health-promotion through obesity prevention across Europe (HOPE): An integrated analysis to support European health Policy
Research priority: Health determinants and the provision of high quality and sustainable health care services and pension systems (in particular in the context of ageing and demographic change)
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 044128
Start date: January 2007
Kick off meeting: June 2007
Completion date: June 2009
European Commission scientific officer: Gesa Hansen,

Name: Erasmus Medical Center
Abbreviated name: Erasmus MC
Address: Department of Public Health
University Medical Centre
Country: The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)10 463 8463
Fax: +31 (0)10 463 8474


Name: International Obesity Task Force /International Association for the Study of Obesity
Abbreviated name: IOTF/IASO
Country: United Kingdom         

Name: Unit for Health Services Research and International Health
Abbreviated name: IRCCS Burlo
Country: Italy

Name: University of Oslo
Abbreviated name: UiO
Country: Norway

Name: Karolinska Institute
Abbreviated name: KI
Country: Sweden

Name: Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale
Abbreviated name: INSERM
Country: France

Name: University of Ghent
Abbreviated name: UGent
Country: Belgium