Adoption of the CO-CREATE Youth Declaration
The time to act is now! That is the message from the CO-CREATE Youth Declaration task force, urging policy makers and stakeholders to address the challenge of adolescent overweight and obesity so that everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life. Highlighting that the Covid-19 pandemic has given us a chance to reshape our societies, the task force is emphasizing that now is the time to build back better.
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Through the CO-CREATE Youth Alliances for Overweight Prevention, young people from all over Europe have worked together to develop policy ideas to address adolescent overweight and obesity. Now, eight representatives from the alliances have gathered in the CO-CREATE Youth Declaration Task Force to draft a declaration raising some of the ideas and demands youth have developed through their work in the project.
This led to the CO-CREATE Youth Declaration. Listing four demands that the Youth Task Force view as crucial to halt the growing obesity epidemic, the Declaration aims to push policy makers and stakeholders in Europe to act now. The drafted document is currently being sent out to all youth alliance members, and will be discussed at an adoption meeting on November 17th.
“Our Youth Declaration is very important because we are taking action by showing society and the political world the importance of this issue [overweight and obesity], asking them to think about the future of our generation” said Pedro Gonçalves, one of the members in the CO-CREATE Youth Declaration Task Force. He is clear on what has motivated his work in the Task Force:
“As an adolescent I can’t turn a blind eye to this issue. I feel like I need to do more than just criticise the system. I do not want to be the guy that is the first to speak up, but the last to act. Therefore, when this opportunity came up in my youth alliance I said yes. And here I am trying to be different and to make a difference.”
The CO-CREATE Youth Declaration Task Force has had representatives from Portugal, Poland, Norway and the Netherlands, and has consisted of eight members in total. The group had regular meetings since July 2020 to discuss what they think it is important that declaration addresses. In addition, the Task Force received presentations from CO-CREATE staff on topics of relevance, to ensure that the declaration builds on the knowledge accumulated in CO-CREATE.
The CO-CREATE approach entails not only talking about the importance of youth in health-related questions, but acknowledging that we need to work with youth to find solutions and answers to the challenges we are facing. The CO-CREATE Youth Declaration is an important part of that commitment, giving young people the room and opportunity to highlight what they view as fundamental to prevent obesity among adolescents.
The declaration will be sent out to policy makers and stakeholders. We hope they are ready to take action and will work with the CO-CREATE Youth to build societies where the healthy choices are the preferred ones!