EUROPEAN UNION. “Council conclusions to contribute towards halting the rise in Childhood Overweight and Obesity”

Overweight and childhood obesity were the two issues discussed at the European Council meeting held in Brussels on June 15 and 16, 2017. The meeting was an occasion to remind Europe's commitment on the topics (since 2000, the Council emphasizes the importance to promote healthy lifestyles) and to mention all the policies and action plans undertaken over time, including the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020, which recognizes the importance of health and prevention promotion.

 

Among the outcomes from the meeting there are a few recommendations to some individual countries:

  • the integration in their national action plans of strategies or activities on nutrition and physical activity, cross-sectoral measures aimed at tackling childhood obesity, not only focusing on health promotion and disease prevention but also on those children and adolescents who are already overweight or obese
  • to develop nutritional guidelines for young people (both overweight and not), parents and catering staff
  • to develop national guidelines for the promotion of physical activity
  • to implement the commitment to reduce marketing activities on food for younger
  • to support the approach of "health in all policies" to create environments and infrastructures that promote physical activity
  • to implement the monitoring of lifestyle programs for pregnant women, adolescents and children, which are able to catch social inequalities

Recommendations to all the EU Countries and the European Commission:

  • make the problem of overweight and childhood obesity a European priority
  • to work with all stakeholders involved in the problem of overweight, including consumer associations
  • recognize and monitor new channels of communication, focusing on the advertisements to which young people have access
  • encourage food labeling in order to support the consumers in healthy choices
  • improve the data collection on health indicators
  • establish as a priority intervention area, the monitoring of physical activity and nutritional quality in children and teenagers' educational settings

Recommendations to the European Commission:

  • to continue the support of the research and surveillance projects on the subject
  • to continue the involvement of European stakeholders
  • to support the development of European codes of conduct of food marketing communications targeted for children and adolescents

Many of these actions are already active in several countries but this last European Council restates the importance of their continuity, stressing the cooperation between the EU States and stimulating  the identification of good practices to give at national level, taking into account the local context.