Study on the evaluation of the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity

Last June 18, ENGSO Youth took part in the validation Workshop for the “Study on the evaluation of the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity” that Open Evidence, PwC, and Safe Food Advocacy Europe (SAFE) are currently carrying out under a specific contract with the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA), acting under the powers delegated by the European Commission (DG SANTE).

The main objectives of the workshop were to present the main results and findings of the last EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020, and receive inputs from EU NGOs regarding the results, the need for a new Action Plan on the matter, and any new developments priorities that should be taken into account to this endeavour. 

The previous Action Plan was divided into 8 key areas, being the most relevant to our sector key area 2 (Promote Healthier Environments) and 6 (Encourage physical activity), whose status on the implementation features quite good when compared with other areas. 

It is important to note that area 4 (Restrict marketing and advertising to children) might also have a correlation with Sports, mainly due to the marketing present in many sport clubs, infrastructures and events. 

In general, the main point highlighted by the participants was the need to rule out of the decision-making tables (and even prohibit lobby from) the unhealthy food and beverages industry, which is still very much present in our societies and hinders better results with regards to childhood obesity and healthier lifestyles.  

From our end, the ENGSO Youth highlighted the following points: 

  • In general, the Action Plan is useful to guide, support and inform policy development and implementation. Nevertheless, further synergies on cross sector cooperation between health and sport and physical activity sector should be explored/developed;

  • The complementarity between school and out-of-school physical activity could perhaps be further explored, having in mind the importance of sport clubs and infrastructures to this  endeavour;

  • A broader approach to well-being (both physical and mental) seems also to be missing. For an integrated approach, could also be useful to address the transition from school to university and the professional life, however this might surpass the scope of this specific document;

Currently, the process is in the final stages of data collection and would like to focus on any further insights from national NGOs linked with Public Health, such as ENGSO members. This will help to finalise the study and better inform the European Commission as to the strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement in the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity.

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