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Stronger together – CO-CREATE joins forces with other EU projects to address the childhood obesity epidemic
Between June-September, 2021 a joint World Café series was convened with STOP, JA Best-ReMaP, and PEN. The events marked a new cross-collaborative initiative, welcoming JA Best-ReMaP as a partner to the other three projects and building on discussions at a joint symposium in 2020. All four projects are addressing the global childhood obesity epidemic through distinct and complementary approaches and have been meeting monthly throughout 2020 to align activities and strengthen their impact.
Best-ReMaP coordinator Dr. Mojca Gabrijelcic and PEN coordinator Prof. Wolfgang Ahrens chaired a discussion to share best practices on how we can improve food and physical activity environments to build a stronger European Union, drawing on insights from their projects. During the first event, the CO-CREATE MOVING framework and database were presented as a monitoring and accountability tool that is complementary to PEN’s Physical Activity Index (PA-EPI) which investigates the implementation of policies currently in effect to encourage active lifestyles.
The second event chaired by STOP coordinator Prof. Franco Sassi showcased STOP’s preliminary findings from research on prenatal and early life influences on childhood obesity, the epigenetic and metabolic determinants of obesity, and the role of the built environment on childhood obesity-related outcomes. CO-CREATE had the opportunity to present its work with youth in six countries to identify the challenges faced by young people, taking a systems approach.
The third event chaired by Christian Bröer, UvA, constituted a dialogue forum facilitated by Marianna Debelian (EAT) on the topic of meaningful youth engagement and inclusion. We welcomed colleagues from UNICEF, JA Best-ReMaP, and Act4Food Act4Change to discuss the definition, identify barriers to meaningfully engaging youth at national levels, and means to address them. The discussions are illustrated below using the digital version of CO-CREATE Dialogue Forum tool.
Rounding off the World Café series, in the final event the project coordinators convened to shine a light on key research questions that remain unaddressed in the societal response to childhood overweight and obesity. In the discussions the coordinators continued to reflect about the next steps, and key opportunities to engage with all four projects in the remainder of their continuity.