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Young people will tackle obesity in new EU project

A consortium of 14 international research and advocacy organisations meet in Oslo, Norway, 27-28 June to kick off a ground-breaking project to tackle overweight and obesity in young people.

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The initiative involves young people as a key component throughout the project, designing policies and advocating practices they believe will help improve adolescent health. Supported by the European Commission, the budget of over €9.5m will provide a programme of activities for a five-year period 2018-2023.

The project, titled CO-CREATE, will work with adolescents to create, inform and disseminate policies to tackle obesity among their peers. The project sees adolescence as a crucial age-group with increasing autonomy and soon to be the next generation of adults, parents and policymakers, and thus important agents for change. CO-CREATE sees youth involvement as an essential component to the development of policies which are aimed at them, and thus the project aims to involve and empower adolescents and youth organizations to foster a participatory process of identifying and formulating relevant policies, assessing the options with other private and public actors, promoting relevant policy actions and developing tools and strategies for implementation.

In addition to the involvement of young people, another key element of CO-CREATE will be the use of a societal systems approach to understand how different societal factors, stakeholders and institutions associated with obesity interact at various levels, and the implications these have on policy and young people.   

CO-CREATE partner organisations include university research departments, national public health institutions and a number of civil society organisations concerned with health policies and youth well-being. The project will build on existing initiatives and platforms, and construct new opportunities and platforms for youth engagement in the issue and youth participation in democratic moves for advocacy and policy change.

“Young people are not heard enough in developing the policies that affect them, and shaping the environments in which they live,” said project leader, Professor Knut-Inge Klepp of the Norwegian Institute for Public Health. “As researchers and advocacy organisations we should listen more. We can bring large-scale datasets and policy monitoring tools, but we need to listen more if we are to create new strategies, tools and programmes for promoting sustainable and healthy behaviours,” he said.

The CO-CREATE Project has received funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research budget, shared between 14 research groups in six European countries plus Australia, South Africa and the United States. The project will be completed in 2023.

Contact Professor Knut-Inge Klepp  – tel: + 47 21 07 83 00 (inquiries from media),  email Knut-Inge.Klepp@fhi.no  

Notes:

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The CO-CREATE project is supported under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research Programme for Sustainable Food Security, grant agreement 774210.

Organisations in the CO-CREATE project consortium are:

FOLKEHELSEINSTITUTTET

Norway

UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Netherlands

UNIVERSITETET I OSLO

Norway

WORLD OBESITY FEDERATION

United Kingdom

LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE

United Kingdom

UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN

South Africa

Centro de Estudos e Investigação em Dinamicas Sociais e Saúde

Portugal

World Cancer Research Fund International

Belgium

EAT Stockholm Food Forum AS

Norway

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houson

United States

Press

Norway

UNIVERSITETET I BERGEN

Norway

SWPS UNIWERSYTET HUMANISTYCZNOSPOLECZNY

Poland

DEAKIN UNIVERSITY

Australia

Estimated percentage of European school-age children (age 5-17y) with excess bodyweight (overweight and obesity):

Year

2000

2013

2025

 Albania 

31

30

28

 Austria 

18

18

17

 Belgium 

19

20

20

 Bosnia and Herzegovina 

17

20

23

 Bulgaria 

26

26

27

 Croatia 

21

25

28

 Cyprus 

23

24

25

 Czech Republic 

20

20

20

 Denmark 

19

20

20

 Estonia 

20

23

25

 Finland 

20

24

26

 France 

19

18

17

 Germany 

18

20

21

 Greece 

26

31

36

 Hungary 

25

28

30

 Iceland 

21

25

28

 Ireland 

26

27

27

 Italy 

26

27

28

 Latvia 

16

18

19

 Lithuania 

20

23

26

 Macedonia FYR

22

23

24

 Malta 

28

29

31

 Moldova 

14

16

17

 Montenegro 

24

27

29

 Netherlands 

16

17

18

 Norway 

17

18

19

 Poland 

18

20

22

 Portugal 

26

28

29

 Romania 

13

16

18

 Serbia 

15

21

27

 Slovakia 

15

17

19

 Slovenia 

24

29

33

 Spain 

26

26

26

 Sweden 

17

20

23

 Switzerland 

17

18

20

 United Kingdom

24

28

31

Sources: Ng et al, Lancet, 2014;384:766-81, and Lobstein et al Pediatric Obesity, 2016;11:321-5.

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