EU health platform opts for “flexible approach” as obesity rises

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

EU health platform opts for “flexible approach” as obesity rises

Related tags: Member states, European union

Ten years after the first European Commission reports were handed in, with little in the way of demonstrable obesity-reduction results, the European Union Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health is taking “a flexible approach” over coming years to tackling obesity rates that continue to rise in most of the bloc’s 27 member states.

Despina Spanou, special advisor to the European Commission’s Director General for Health and Consumers (DG Sanco), told a congress in Brussels last week that the Platform needed better working methods and that individual member states were being given the flexibility to develop these.

“But it will be a flexible approach which must take account of diet specificities in member states, and efforts in the Platform context,”​ she told the 5th Annual European Nutrition and Lifestyle Conference.

Spanou said the Platform, formalised and launched in 2005 to tackle rising rates of obesity in the EU, would have four main points of focus between now and 2013.

These are:

  • Vulnerable groups
  • Kids advertising
  • Communications on sports and physical activities
  • Reformulation

“All member states are to develop a strategy to strengthen health promotion and disease prevention,” ​she said of the Platform that went under review by the European Union presidency in December, 2010.

An earlier evaluation had shown results in reformulation and children’s advertising.

Spanou said the EU needed to work more closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), a group that had adopted the European Charter on Counteracting Obesity in Istanbul, Turkey in late 2006.

That expansion of the Platform meant 34 members signed up and they implemented 148 commitments by 2007.

Malta, Greece, the UK, Germany, Finland, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Portugal had the greatest numbers of people with body mass indexes (BMIs) of more than 25 and therefore classed as overweight.


She said recent meetings of Platform stakeholders had determined reformulation initiatives with a focus on saturated fat; trans fat; energy; total fat; added sugars; portion sizes, and consumption frequency.

“A clear framework for reformulating selected nutrients must be in place and where possible, specific targets must be endorsed by national initiatives,”​ Spanou said.

Amendment: This story has been amended to reflect the fact that, "little in the way of demonstrable results" ​in fact related to, "obesity-reduction results".

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Why Food and Beverage Companies are “Pigging”

Why Food and Beverage Companies are “Pigging”

Hygienic Pigging Systems Ltd | 18-Aug-2021 | Technical / White Paper

Liquid product recovery (“pigging”) systems are widely used during the manufacture, processing, and packaging of food and beverages.
Pigging recovers...

19 Pocket Cards with Essential Kjeldahl Knowledge

19 Pocket Cards with Essential Kjeldahl Knowledge

BÜCHI Labortechnik AG | 26-Jul-2021 | Technical / White Paper

With our free cue cards, keep essential knowledge of the Kjeldahl method with theory and tips right at your fingertips, for quick and easy referral. Cover...

Perfecting plant-based foods with Kemin solutions

Perfecting plant-based foods with Kemin solutions

Kemin Food Technologies | 26-May-2021 | Technical / White Paper

In the past few years, we witnessed awareness of pushing consumer trends towards healthy, plant-based and label-friendly products, but also protein alternatives...

How a Food and Beverage ERP Drives Success

How a Food and Beverage ERP Drives Success

Aptean | 05-May-2021 | Technical / White Paper

An industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution could be the key differentiator between "just getting by" and exceeding your...

Related suppliers

1 comment

Inaccurate reflections on the EU Platform

Posted by Dr Josephine Wills, EUFIC,

The EU Platform for Action was established in March 2005 - 6 years ago. Your comment "with little in the way of demonstrable results" is more the result of a limited, readable external communications programme from the Commission, about the achievements of the 297 commitments. The Platform underwent an evaluation process in 2009/10, and the results can be found here:

Report abuse

Follow us


View more