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Tackling the epidemic of childhood obesity

Tackling the epidemic of childhood obesity



Conclusions on halting the rise in childhood overweight and obesity


They call on the EU countries and the European Commission to take a series of coordinated actions to address the rise in the number of children who are overweight and/or obese — one of today’s major health challenges that often leads to serious health and economic consequences, both in the short and the longer term.


The conclusions call on EU countries to address childhood overweight and obesity, for example by:

  • working with food producers, retailers and the catering sector to encourage food product improvement and in particular to promote the healthy option as being the easy option;
  • developing codes of conduct to ensure that advertising (and other forms of marketing) targeted at children do not promote foods high in energy, salt, sugars, saturated or trans-fatty acids which do not comply with national or international nutritional guidelines;
  • analysing the economic consequences of adult and childhood overweight and obesity (e.g. health and social costs and the burden on the public budget and on family budgets across different population groups).

They call on EU countries together with the Commission to:

  • work together, with the relevant parties, on aspects such as reducing the marketing to children and adolescents of foods not complying with international or national nutritional guidelines, combating sedentary lifestyles and using evidence-based tools (given the strong link between marketing and overweight);
  • respond urgently to the challenge of marketing and advertising via online platforms and social media — which are difficult to monitor as the messages are often targeted at individual children;
  • develop and evaluate evidence-based programmes and guidelines on health promotion and prevention interventions, diagnosis and treatments for at-risk, overweight and obese children and adolescents;
  • continue to support the EU action plan on childhood obesity 2014-2020, especially through activities involving the cooperation between countries and the effects such as food product improvement and marketing directed at children.

They call on the Commission to:

  • support EU countries’ joint work, especially in the areas of food product improvement, economic analysis of the consequences of obesity, marketing and public procurement of food;
  • support the drafting of EU codes of conduct in the area of food marketing and advertising, in particular in relation to children and adolescents, while appropriately involving the various interested parties;
  • ensure an effective health-in-all-policies approach to promote health, prevention and nutrition considerations across sectors and initiatives.


For more information, see:


Council conclusions to contribute towards halting the rise in childhood overweight and obesity (OJ C 205, 29.6.2017, pp. 46-52)

last update 06.11.2017