Young people at heart of new project tackling childhood obesity

World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International’s Policy and Public Affairs team are meeting today with the other international organisations involved in a new project to tackle childhood obesity in Europe

27 June 2018

The new project, called CO-CREATE, will work with young people to create, inform and disseminate policies to tackle obesity among their peers.

A consortium of the 14 international research and advocacy organisations involved in the project will meet in Oslo, Norway, on 27–28 June to kick off this ground-breaking project to tackle overweight and obesity in young people. Young people will be centrally involved, designing policies and advocating practices they believe will help improve adolescent health.

Supported by the European Commission, the project’s total budget of over €9.5 million will provide a programme of activities across a five-year period, as part of which WCRF will be able to develop a physical activity framework and database. This will accompany NOURISHING, supporting policymakers to implement policies promoting healthy diets and physical activity.

Louise Meincke, WCRF International’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “This project is important and timely as 31 per cent of 5–17-year-olds in the UK are expected to be overweight or obese by 2025, and as our latest cancer prevention report showed, overweight and obesity are linked to 12 different cancers.

"Young people in adolescence are a crucial age group as they are at a point where they are gaining increasing autonomy and will soon be the next generation of adults, parents and policymakers; thus making them important agents for change. Working with them is essential to the development of effective policies aimed at tackling childhood obesity, and we are really excited to work on physical activity in addition to our policy work on healthy diets.”

The meeting in Oslo comes just days after the UK government revealed the next phase of their childhood obesity plan, which includes consultations on TV advertising restrictions for unhealthy products and on banning the sale of energy drinks to children, plus legislation for mandatory calorie labelling on menus in restaurants, cafés and takeaways.

Measures such as these could complement the CO-CREATE project, working towards a long-term and significant reduction in the number of children living with overweight and obesity.