EU Health Award

2019 EU Health Award for cities, NGOs and schools

Rewarding initiatives of cities, NGOs and schools seeking to prevent and reduce obesity in children and young people (6-18 years)

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of this edition

The European Commission dedicates this year’s EU Health Award to initiatives of cities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and schools that contributed or are contributing to a higher level of public health in the European Union through preventing and reducing obesity in children and young people. Practices submitted under this call must not have ended before 1 January 2016. These initiatives can be terminated or still be ongoing at the moment of the launch of the call for applications.

Overweight and obesity are a challenge worldwide and in the EU. Despite action at European level to reverse the rising trends, the proportion of the population who are overweight or obese remains worryingly high both for adults and for children and young people1. A strong commitment of cities, NGOs and schools is crucial to effectively tackle this worrying trend. The situation is particularly important for children and young people as they are our most vulnerable citizens. Children and young people should be protected from early on from chronic diseases arising from overweight and obesity and from the related health and economic problems that they will have to carry throughout their entire lives.

According to estimates from the WHO’s Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI), around 1 in 3 children in the EU aged 6-9 years old was overweight or obese in 2015. This is a worrying increase since 2008 when estimates were 1 in 4. Poor diet and physical inactivity are important determinants of obesity in adults, as well as in children and young people. For children and young people, a healthy diet and a physically active lifestyle can reduce the risk of overweight and obesity in adulthood, as well as contributing to healthy growth and development. Especially alarming is the fact that physical activity tends to drop between the ages 11 to 15 in most European countries. Problems related to overweight, obesity and physical inactivity tend to start in childhood, and affect often disproportionately the disadvantaged socio-economic groups. Ambitious action is urgently needed to reduce not only human suffering, but also to decrease the high economic burden of obesity, strengthen national health and social systems, and promote the productivity and growth of the economy, including a healthy future workforce.

According to an OECD study2, an obese person incurs 25% higher health expenditures than a person of normal weight in any given year. Up to 7% of EU health budgets are spent on diseases linked to obesity each year, whereas only 3% of the EU health budgets are spent on prevention.

The European Commission has been supporting the EU Member States in promoting healthier lifestyles among children and young people through initiatives such as the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity, the Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle and the EU School Scheme, whereby fruit, vegetables and milk are distributed among school-aged children.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, recently stated: “We wish our children happiness, health and success. As adults we are responsible for making choices that prevent overweight and obesity in our kids. They deserve our strong commitment and action. Let’s break the childhood obesity vicious cycle, together and now”.

In addition to NGOs, the Award will this year also include cities and schools, as they are key stakeholders in addressing childhood overweight and obesity.

The European Commission calls upon NGOs, cities and schools based in the European Union and active in the field of childhood overweight and obesity prevention and reduction to submit details of their successful initiatives to the 2019 EU Health Award.

From the initiatives submitted by cities, NGOs and schools in response to this call, three initiatives per category will be shortlisted, and one per category will be recognised as outstanding and will receive a prize of 100 000 EUR:

  • Prize for the winning City: EUR 100 000
  • Prize for the winning NGO: EUR 100 000
  • Prize for the winning School: EUR 100 000

The EU Health Award is funded under the 3rd Health Programme 2014-2020.

Please find more information on the Award rules and how to apply in the different tabs on this website.

Award Ceremony and EU Health Policy Platform

All the shortlisted candidates will be invited to the event where the Awards will be presented.

  • NGO category: maximum 5 representatives per shortlisted NGO will be invited and their travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed.
  • City category: maximum 5 representatives per shortlisted city will be invited and their travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed.
  • School category: maximum 2 representatives and maximum 20 children per shortlisted school will be invited and their travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed.



All applicants are strongly encouraged to join the EU Health Policy Platform to engage in the discussions on health issues of common interest with international, European, national and regional stakeholders and the European Commission.


Information about the 2019 EU Health Award for NGOs, schools and cities on ‘Prevention and reduction of obesity in children and young people’ will be made available on the EU Health Policy Platform. Therefore, applicants will need to register at the EU Health Policy Platform.


[1] EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014 – 2020:

[2] Obesity and the Economics of Prevention Fit not Fat. Published on September 23, 2010