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Supporting the mid-term evaluation of the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020: the childhood obesity study.

Boer, J., Driesenaar, J., Blokstra, A., Vennemann, F., Pushkarev, N., Hansen, J. Supporting the mid-term evaluation of the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020: the childhood obesity study. Luxembourg: Office of European Union, 2018.
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The Action Plan on Childhood Obesity has the overarching goal of halting the rise in overweight and obesity in children and young people (0-18 years) in the EU by 2020. The study provides an overview of the state of implementation of the Action Plan on Childhood Obesity both at EU and national level.

Main conclusions
The results of this study showed that all countries are active in more than one of the areas for action of the Action Plan and most countries are active in all eight action areas. A lot of activities originate from before 2014, the year the Action Plan was published. In addition, in all areas for action a number of countries are moving from having plans to implementation of actions. Particularly in Area 3 (make the healthy choice the easier choice) a considerable number of initiatives were implemented after 2014. This does not necessarily mean, however, that the implementation was a result of the Action Plan.

Area 2 (promote healthier environments, especially in (pre-)schools) seems to be one of the areas for action that is best addressed, since a lot of activity is seen in Area 2 and 40% of the reported ‘most successful’ activities pertain to this action area. Additionally, many of the EU-funded projects address operational objectives in this action area. Area 6 also seems to be well covered, with respect to the presence of policies, the presence or planning of national guidelines and available data on weight and height of children.

Area 3 (make the healthier option the easy option) and Area 4 (restrict marketing and advertising to children) seem to be action areas that need additional action and support. This despite the (increased) activity and appreciated support provided by the European Commission and other organisations, such as WHO.

Due to the shortness of the period of 2014-2017 covered by this report, it is unlikely that policies and activities implemented since 2014 can be causally related to a decrease in or a halt in the rise of childhood obesity. Furthermore, systematically collected data to determine trends in the prevalence of childhood obesity since the adoption of the Action Plan are not yet available.