CO-CREATE brings together 14 research and advocacy organizations, including EAT, to address this challenge. The innovative project aims to reduce the increasing burden of overweight and obesity among adolescents, by working directly with adolescents to create obesity-preventive policies and promote action among relevant stakeholders.
CO-CREATE is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and started in May 2018. Led by the Norwegian Institute for Public Health, this five-year project aims to reduce adolescent obesity and its co-morbidities by working with and empowering adolescents to create, inform and disseminate obesity-preventive, evidence-based policies.
Adolescent overweight and obesity rates across Europe are high and there has been almost no reduction in any country so far. By 2025, one in five children in Europe are expected to be overweight – over 16 million children. At the same time, youth’s voices are hardly heard in policy discussions affecting their future. What if these two realities are intimately connected?
Adolescence is a crucial age-group where important lifestyle changes take place, however, “adolescents and young adults have until recently been overlooked in global health and social policy” according to the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing. The Commission points out that “investments in adolescent health and wellbeing bring a triple dividend of benefits now, into future adult life, and for the next generation of children”.
In addition to taking a systems approach to better understand how factors associated with obesity interact at various levels, CO-CREATE considers adolescents to be important agents for change. Adolescents and youth organizations will therefore be involved and empowered to identify and formulate relevant policies, assess such policies with private and public actors, and promote tools and strategies for implementation. A range of international partners are engaged in the project, including in Norway, the UK, the Netherlands, Portugal and Poland, with additional partners in Australia, the US and South Africa.
“Young people are not a burdensome responsibility but a critical resource to society which can be mobilized to achieve higher social goals” (EU Strategy for Youth).
EAT’s primary role in the project is to co-develop a model for a multi-actor dialogue forum that enable and empower adolescents to discuss policies and commitments with policy-makers and business representatives to enable healthy food and physical activity habits for adolescents. EAT will work with Designit – a global strategic design firm – to develop and test a dialogue forum model in Norway. In collaboration with consortium partners, EAT will enable 20 dialogue forums to be held across local, national and regional level in Europe.
EAT is excited to work with engaged youth across Europe to identify policies and strategies for healthier and more sustainable food and physical activity environments.
The CO-CREATE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme for Sustainable Food Security under grant agreement No 774210.