EU Platform for Diet, Physical Activity & Health steps up

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Monday, July 26, 2010

An evaluation of the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity & Health was released recently, and highlights the five year achievements of the novel multi-stakeholder Platform, recognising the need to step up the fight against European obesity.

Five years ago, the European Commission created the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity & Health, which brought together a variety of concerned stakeholders and challenged them to respond to the rising tide of obesity in Europe.

The approach combining multiple stakeholders provides a forum for European organisations to commit to tackling disturbing trends in European consumers’ diet and physical activity. Public health NGOs, consumer and physical fitness groups, the food, drink and catering industries, and a number of Member States comprise the 32 Platform members, together with observers from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority).

A comprehensive evaluation report of the Platform was carried out by the Evaluation Partnership on behalf of the Public Health Evaluation and Impact Assessment Consortium (PHEIAC). The report highlights achievements and challenges over the past five years, and says it is “too early to judge whether the Platform has managed to contain or reverse the trend of sustained, EU-wide increase in overweight and obesity.”

The evaluation report looks at case studies on the Platform members' commitments for action in two key areas. In advertising and marketing to children, the evaluators report that within the parameters of the commitments made by industry, “self-regulation in this area has been very effective at limiting the exposure of children to adverts for high fat, sugar and salt foods.”

Additionally, evaluators highlight that the Platform has inspired the development of national platforms in several member states, such as Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and The Netherlands – which have tailored Platform objectives to more local goals.

In addition, it remains difficult to measure long-term health impacts, and monitoring processes remains a contentious issue among Platform stakeholders. The evaluation recommends that “the Commission act as a mediator among different views” and encourages members to act more in concert to increase mutual understanding.
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