1st NCD Youth Conference

News1st NCD Youth Conference

From the 6-9 December 2019, the International Youth Health Organisation hosted its 1st NCD Youth Conference in Portorož, Slovenia.

Initially established in 2011 as the Alcohol Policy Youth Network, the International Youth Health Organization (YHO) connected organisations to work towards the prevention and reduction of alcohol-related harm. In 2018, the organisation decided to rename the network and expand the areas of work to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including mental health and environmental health. YHO develops and supports evidence-based and effective policies to assure health-promoting environments for young people.

From December 6-9 2019, YHO hosted its 1st NCD Youth Conference in Portorož, Slovenia. The Conference had six main goals:

  1. Raise interest among young people and youth organisations about prevention of NCDs and health policies;
  2. Promote evidence-based projects and exchange knowledge of good practices for health promotion;
  3. Empower the participants with the necessary skills and capacities in order to effectively work on the fields of NCDs;
  4. Empower the participants with the necessary tools to engage in advocating for more comprehensive health policies at regional, national and international levels;
  5. Provide the necessary tools and training for participants to be able to conduct projects to improve youth health;
  6. Give participants the opportunity for networking with public health professionals and organisations, working on the same topics.

Throughout the conference, a member of our policy team discussed the role of nutrition in addressing NCDs and the role youth can play. As adolescence represents a critical window of opportunity for effective prevention and health promotion with effects throughout the life-course, investing in adolescent health is critical. In addition to providing a brief overview of the burden of malnutrition around the world,  we highlighted some of the benefits of CO-CREATE as a new research programme, aiming to bring in the voices of young people as means of identifying more effective solutions.

Following that presentation, World Obesity co-facilitated a workshop focused on the role of nutrition in the context of NCDs. Through an interactive 2-hour long session, the participants were prompted to identify the benefits, flaws and feasibility of specific nutrition-related policies including increasing taxes on unhealthy food, front-of-pack nutrition labelling, restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods and healthy school food policies.