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Tackling Childhood Obesity in the EU: Halting the Rise through Prevention and Closer Collaboration

Date: Tuesday, 30 October 2018 10:00 - 16:30

Venue: Central Brussels  |  City: Brussels

Childhood obesity remains a big public health issue in the European Union. The problem is global and is steadily affecting many low-and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. Although various factors play a role, the global increase in childhood overweight and obesity is mainly linked to a shift in diet towards foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar, combined with a decline in physical activity (EPRS, 2017). Globally, in 2016 the number of overweight children under the age of five was estimated to be over 41 million. In the European region it is estimated that 1 in 3 11 year olds is overweight or obese (World Health Organization).  7% of national health budget across Europe is spent on diseases linked to obesity (EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020).

In response to the alarmingly increasing rates, in 2014 the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity was established with the mission to review, build upon and address gaps in existing mandates and strategies. As part of its strategy on nutrition and physical activity, the EU envisaged a six year Action Plan on Childhood Obesity (2014-2020). The plan aims at demonstrating shared commitment among EU Member States, setting priority areas for actions and collectively keeping track of the progress. Consistent with the EU Action Plan, the World Health Organization adopted both a Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases and a new European Food and Nutrition Action Plan (2015-2020). Those plans focus on raising awareness amongst consumers.

Despite these measures, the number of obese children is constantly rising. This development is brought by a number of elements, among them socioeconomic factors; family as a driving force for unhealthy behaviour; children being exposed to a sedentary environment; the high media consumption and the consequent exposure to food advertisement. Urgent action is needed to raise awareness of the consequences of obesity, to promote healthy diets and physical activities whilst improving access to adequate and accessible treatment. The food and beverage industry is moreover obliged to market and label products responsibly and proactively support Governments to decrease the alarming number of obese children across the EU.   

This international symposium offers a timely and invaluable opportunity for all relevant stakeholders to engage with the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020 and the WHO European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020. It will also set priorities for future policy recommendations, assess the latest institutional developments and current strategies for prevention and early intervention. The symposium will further offer delegates a platform to share ideas and best practice from across Europe.


Delegates will:

  • Analyse current EU policy initiatives and priorities for breaking the cycle of childhood obesity in Europe
  • Assess the progress and challenges in tackling childhood obesity at the EU level and consider future recommendations
  • Examine the socioeconomic forces driving childhood obesity and overweight
  • Discuss ways to raise awareness, and promote prevention and treatments included in family and school settings
  • Discuss the significance of physical activity and how it can be promoted at a young age
  • Understand the impact of food advertising on children’s choices
  • Evaluate ways to improve accessibility to treatment for early intervention
  • Understand the pivotal role of cross borders partnerships across the EU



 Registration and Morning Refreshments


 Chair's Welcome and Opening Remarks


 Actions on Childhood Obesity at the EU level: Reviewing the Policy Framework

  • EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020: Assessing Progress and Examining Future Recommendations
  • Reviewing the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases & European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020
  • Considering Future Policy Recommendations


 First Round of Discussions


 Morning Coffee Break


 Examining Causes, Raising Awareness and Promoting Prevention and Treatment

  • Driving Forces for Childhood Obesity in Europe: Examining Socioeconomic Aspects
  • Raising Awareness: Promoting Education Campaigns and Sharing Best Practices
  • Promoting Healthier Environments in Family Settings
  • Focusing on Prevention in Schools: Educating about Healthy Diets and Lifestyle Habits
  • Providing Accessible, Adequate and Affordable Treatment Services


 Second Round of Discussions


 Networking Lunch


 Developing Responsible Food Marketing 

  • Understanding the Impact of Food Advertising on Children’s Food Choices
  • Providing Better Information on Food Products through Responsible Marketing and Advertising
  • Promoting Healthy Food and Physical Activity through Advertising


 Third Round of Discussions


 Afternoon Coffee Break


 Cross border and multi stakeholder partnerships across the EU

  • Guaranteeing Accessibility to Healthy Diets and Diminishing the Intake of Unhealthy Food
  • Strengthening Partnership and Cooperation between Different Actors
  • Increasing the Attractiveness of Sports and Healthy Lifestyles through Innovative Solutions


 Fourth Round of Discussions


 Chair's Summary and Closing Remarks


 Networking Reception and Refreshments


 Symposium Close


** Please note that the programme and speakers are subject to change without notice **


Who Should Attend?

  • Public Health Practitioners
  • Local Authority Officers and Councillors
  • Central Government Departments and Agencies
  • Head’s of Children Services and Teams
  • Pre-School, Infant School, Primary and Secondary School Head Teachers and Staff
  • School Nurses
  • Health Service Professionals
  • Youth Services
  • Food and Drinks Industry Professionals
  • NHS Training Departments
  • Parent Participation Teams
  • Parental  Engagement Teams
  • Local Education Authorities
  • Voluntary and Community Organisations
  • Health Promotion Practitioners
  • Ministries of Health
  • Local, Regional and National Health Services
  • Academic and Researchers
  • Health Policy Makers
  • Food and Drinks Media Advertisers


+32 28080817
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1000 Brussels


All Dates

  • Tuesday, 30 October 2018 10:00 - 16:30

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