Feature Obesity

Steps to a leaner Europe

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39423.452106.AD (Published 13 December 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1238
  1. Rory Watson, freelance journalist
  1. 1Brussels
  1. RoryWatson{at}compuserve.com

    Obesity is a growing public health problem. Rory Watson reports on European initiatives to tackle it and wider health problems

    The European Commission is enlisting the help of town mayors across the continent as part of its campaign to tackle obesity by encouraging healthy eating among young people. The initiative is being led by the directorate general in charge of public health (known by its French acronym, SANCO) and is drawing unashamedly on the pioneering programme in France, Ensemble Prévenons l’Obésité des Enfants (EPODE).

    Robert Madelin, the director general of the commission’s public health department, explains: “If you get mayors and teachers as well as doctors, parents, and people who sell fruit and vegetables together, the question is can we deliver a culturally appropriate intervention at primary school level and does it work on children and their families? The data show that you can halt the rise in obesity. We are now trying to take that experiment and apply it elsewhere.”

    In March, his department established the basis of an EPODE European network. It is now recruiting advocates among regional authorities, is considering how funding from the European Union could be …

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