UN Health Charter Targets Obesity In Europe With Less Fat, More Action And Curbed Ads
New York, Nov 20 2006 9:00PM
Healthier diets, more physical activity and protection from commercial influence are high on the menu to reduce obesity
throughout Europe, especially among children, under a charter adopted at a three-day United Nations health meeting
currently underway in Istanbul.
“We are all aware that obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges facing Europe today,” UN World Health
) Regional Director Marc Danzon said.
“Evidence exists on what needs to be done to reverse the trend. This Charter commits Member States to put obesity high
on their political agendas and calls on all partners and stakeholders to do the same. It is a guide, an opportunity, and
gives us the tools to take effective action,” he added.
The European Charter on Counteracting Obesity, signed yesterday by Dr. Danzon and Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag on
behalf of all of Member States of the WHO European Region, sets the ultimate goal of curbing the epidemic and reversing
the current trend.
“Visible progress, especially relating to children and adolescents, should be achievable in most countries in the next
4-5 years and it should be possible to reverse the trend by 2015 at the latest,” the Charter declares, calling for
action to encourage children to establish healthy habits early in life and steps to protect them fῲom commercial
Recommended steps include the adoption of regulations to substantially reduce the extent and impact of commercial
promotion of energy-dense food and beverages, particularly to children, with the development of international
approaches, such as a code on marketing to children in this area.
The Charter also calls for the adoption of regulations for safer roads to promote cycling and walking and establishing
opportunities for daily physical activity and for good nutrition and physical education in schools. Other key actions
include promoting breastfeeding and reducing the amount of fat, sugar and salt in manufactured products.
The Charter was developed through an open consultation process, driven by Member States and involving different
government sectors, international organizations, experts, civil society and the private sector.