This innovative EU-funded project aims to reduce childhood obesity by working with young people to create policy actions promoting healthier environments.
CO-CREATE brings together World Cancer Research Fund International and 13 other research and advocacy organisations to work with young people to create, inform and disseminate evidence-based policies that help prevent obesity. We aim to reduce childhood obesity and associated co-morbidities in Europe and the rest of the world.
The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, and is led by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The project engages international partners from a range of countries: the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal and Poland, with input from outside Europe in Australia, the US and South Africa.
Childhood obesity is on the rise across Europe. By 2025, 1 in 5 children in Europe is expected to be overweight or obese – more than 16 million children across Europe. Being overweight or obese in adolescence (13–18 year age group) is a strong predictor of remaining so into adulthood.
World Cancer Research Fund International’s research shows that overweight and obesity is a cause of at least 13 different cancers. Excess weight and obesity have been linked to other chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
This rise in overweight and obesity is fuelling the increase in cancer around the world. If we want to make a real dent in these soaring obesity rates, we need to look not just at people themselves but also their environment – and the way to do that is through policy – Dr Kate Allen, World Cancer Research Fund International’s Executive Director of Science & Public Affairs
As part of our work on the CO-CREATE project, we’ve developed a suite of tools to help monitor, benchmark and assess national governments’ nutrition and physical activity policy actions. The first set of tools includes a physical activity framework and database, building on and complementing our existing NOURISHING framework and database. We comprehensively scanned, collected and verified policies for 30 European countries. The databases also include global policies, collected via ongoing surveillance.
We then assessed how well-designed these policies are, using our NOURISHING benchmarking tool and MOVING benchmarking tool. This enabled us to produce the NOURISHING policy index and MOVING policy index, which outline the status of national nutrition and physical activity policy actions in 30 European countries. The indexes provide an at-a-glance assessment of how well countries in Europe are doing in enabling people to be physically active and eat healthy diets. Snapshots of 30 countries were also developed, which look at each country included in the index in more detail, examining their strengths and weaknesses in policy design for both nutrition and physical activity.
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 774210. This content reflects only the authors’ views and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.