Background

  • Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century and is associated with numerous health problems both in childhood and adulthood, entailing significant health, social and economic costs.
  • Overweight and obesity in children are of particular concern because unhealthy bodyweight in early life not only affects a child’s immediate physical, mental and social health, educational attainment and quality of life but may also increase the risk of obesity and NCDs later in life including early diabetes, several cancers and cardiovascular disorders -which are by far the largest cause of death and disease burden in Europe-.
  • Obesity has a multi-causal and complex origin involving biological, psychosocial, lifestyle, socio-demographic and environmental factors.
  • Overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions in Europe. One in three school-age children is overweight or obese on the continent.
  • No European nation is on track to meet the target of halting the rise in obesity set for 2025. Furthermore, there are serious concerns that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic situation resulting from the war in Ukraine may have worsened the situation, especially for children and adolescents in situation of greater vulnerability. An equity focus is essential to address childhood obesity.

Spanish Plan

Spain, along with other southern European countries, is among the European Union countries with the highest prevalence of childhood obesity and overweight, a situation that is particularly marked in children living in low-income households. Our country has established childhood obesity as a priority and has developed a roadmap with an intersectoral approach for the next decade, the National Strategic Plan to Reduce Childhood Obesity (2022-2030), which proposes 200 measures aimed at acting comprehensively in all settings where children and adolescents live, incorporating cross-cutting elements - such as addressing structural, educational, urban, health or environmental factors - and proposing actions on factors related to childhood obesity that go beyond traditional approaches, such as emotional well-being, sleep and healthy use of the digital environment.

High-Level Meeting

Spain has therefore made childhood obesity one of its priorities for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and is particularly interested in sharing a comprehensive vision of its approach and contributing to the advancement of intersectoral policies for the prevention of childhood obesity in the European region by organising a High Level Meeting with the participation of Spanish, European and international institutional personalities and high-level experts with the following objectives:

  • Move towards an innovative cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder comprehensive framework for addressing childhood obesity that can contribute to forthcoming European policies to reduce childhood obesity.
  • Sharing joint learning of effective experiences and best practices for the reduction of childhood obesity and the promotion of healthy lifestyles for children and adolescents in the 21st century.
  • Establish synergies and entry points to gain efficiency in the European policy framework.
  • Advance in the creation of a large European multi-stakeholder alliance for the reduction of childhood obesity involving institutional, scientific and social actors.