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The youth obesity challenge

CO-CREATE kicked off with an official opening and project meeting in Oslo on June 27 and 28 in Oslo. Alongside presenting the CO-CREATE project, our opening served to outline the challenges we are facing, and our approach to those challenges.

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Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century and its prevalence has increased at an alarming rate in the last decades. At the CO-CREATE kick-off meeting, Professor Deanna M. Hoelscher at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston outlined the complexity of the obesity challenge, concluding that reducing childhood obesity will require action at several levels of society.

Effective action to prevent childhood obesity demands embracing the complexity of the challenge. Traditional linear approaches are falling short, and new approaches are needed. Professor Harry Rutter of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine outlined the systems approach to obesity, concluding that in order to succeed at tackling obesity we need to engage meaningfully with systems, complexity, and structural and commercial drivers of health.

"Do not talk about us – talk with us" was the message from Karoline Steen Nylander of the youth organization, Press. True and lasting effects to positively impact youth health, including overweight and obesity, will not only need to include young people's input, perspective and suggestions: the initiative and leadership of young people themselves should be part of the answer when facing societal challenges that impact them.

CO-CREATE is the result of a large effort by the European Union to curb the childhood obesity epidemic. Coordinator of CO-CREATE, Knut-Inge Klepp of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, introduced the project, outlining its objectives and plans over the five year project period. Using systems approach to obesity and including genuine youth participation are key elements across CO-CREATE project activities.

The opening ended with a panel session, discussing the obesity challenge and methods of CO-CREATE.

The official opening in its entirety is available as three Vimeo-videos:

CO-CREATE opening part 1

CO-CREATE opening part 2

CO-CREATE opening part 3

Selected media coverage of the kick-off

The CO-CREATE project group
The CO-CREATE project group.
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