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Article

Youth involvement is key to generate change

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True and lasting positive impact on youth health needs to include young peoples input, perspectives and leadership.

HEALTHY VOICES SMALL.png

True and lasting positive impact on youth health needs to include young peoples input, perspectives and leadership.


CO-CREATE – Youth Engagement from Folkehelseinstituttet on Vimeo.

Today, young people represent the largest part of the population globally. Increasingly, we are seeing a desire for young people to get their voices heard. However, 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 leadership of young people themselves needs to be part of the answer. This is the backdrop from which all CO-CREATE youth oriented activties are developed.

The CO-CREATE Journey: Youth turn policy ideas into actions

CO-CREATE convenes young people across five European countries to work collectively in Youth Alliances to develop policy ideas to address the systemic factors which influence adolescent obesity and health in their respective countries. Dialogue forums serve as a catalyst for youth to engage in discussions with policymakers and business and refine their policy ideas to identify collective actions and commitments. CO-CREATE’s Dialogue Forums are solution-oriented, meaning participants are encouraged to identify concrete actions they can take to help advance a policy idea.

This process culminated in the development of policy briefs across the five CO-CREATE countries – Poland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, and the United Kingdom (UK).

The inception of the CO-CREATE Youth Declaration Taskforce, a group of eight representatives from the alliances, marks another step in the direction towards collective action suggested and intitated by youth themselves. The taskforce has launched a declaration, demanding political change to secure a healthy life for all young people. They continue to advocate for their demands at events and in national newspapers and refine strategies for effective leadership during regular meetings.

 

Healthy Voices: giving young people the power to beat obesity

As part of the CO-CREATE project, and our collaborator project STOP, World Obesity Federation launched in 2019 a youth-oriented capacity-building website. Healthy Voices provides young people with the necessary knowledge and advocacy tools to promote their engagement to address health-related challenges.

Healthy Voices simultaneously exploits the results and learning from our project as well as the STOP project and sustains positive youth engagement. It is an educational and capacity-building platform and provides a space for blogs and discussions. It aims to provide young people with some tools and expertise about how to become actively involved in shaping their environments and become agents of change. Visit Healthy Voices here.