- Jennifer Baker (Denmark) – Co-Chair
- Grace O’Malley (Ireland) – Co-Chair
Childhood Obesity (COTF)
EASO & Childhood Obesity
Twenty percent of Europe’s school-age children are estimated to be overweight with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases as they become adults. Of these overweight children, one in five will develop obesity, with a significant probability that they are already suffering the early signs of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and liver disease.
The number of overweight children has risen substantially in the last two decades and is likely to continue to rise unless major prevention programmes are initiated.
The treatment of child obesity can involve a wide range of professional services including family counselling, behaviour modification, sports and activity training, nutrition and dietetics and, where necessary, pharmaceutical and surgical interventions. However, obesity treatment in children is rarely fully successful in the longer term. The main aim of treatment is to prevent further increases in obesity and to reduce as much as possible the risk of related ill health.
Prevention of child obesity involves the child, the family, the school, the health services, the community and society at large. A child’s environment contains many inducements that encourage weight gain, and the child cannot be expected to resist these alone. Healthier choices need to be easy ones for a child to make, and need to be fully supported by all those responsible for children’s health. Where necessary, controls may need to be exerted to ensure that children are not induced to make choices which could damage their health.