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NewsBLOG | Tackling the Crisis of Childhood Obesity

Tackling the Crisis of Childhood Obesity


Author: Olly Buston

Jamie Oliver Food Foundation


The World Health Assembly on Monday 23rd May, just 3 days after Food Revolution Day, will be the first opportunity to see if we really can help make a revolution happen in the relationship that individuals, governments, and businesses have with food.  

The Assembly is the annual meeting of all the world’s Health Ministers.  People like Jane Philpott from Canada and JP Nadda from India.  These people are responsible for the health of all the world’s children.  So, we’re asking them all to take a moment to think about what they can do to tackle the crisis of child obesity and child undernourishment around the world.  

Too often in the past governments have made only vague commitments to tackling child malnutrition.  So this year the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation is working alongside the World Obesity Federation and other fantastic  organisations from all over the world to organise a special event at the World Health Assembly where we are asking Health Ministers to make SMART commitments to tackle child obesity and undernourishment.

We’ve also made a special map of the world out of food, and are asking ministers who make a SMART commitment to put their country on the map by planting a flag to demonstrate that they are serious when it comes to tackling this child health crisis.

Inside the World Health Assembly itself ministers will be debating vitally important resolutions on tackling inappropriate marketing of infant food and beverages, and on ending childhood obesity.   We support the World Obesity Federation’s excellent work to make sure these resolutions are as strong as possible.

A note from World Obesity...

World Obesity is pleased to have co-sponsored a side event on 'ending child obesity and child undernutrition' alongside 12 NGOs and 13 member states, including the Jamie Oliver Foundation. Key speakers include WHO DG Margaret Chan, Health Ministers from every continent, as well as Jamie himself. The event was used to encourage governments to make SMART commitments to address child obesity and undernutrition in their countries and called for increased national investment and prioritisation of nutrition. See relevant contributions by Jamie on Facebook here and with Corinna Hawkes here.

World Obesity also delivered a number of statements at this year's World Health Assembly, including.

  1. The inappropriate marketing of infant foods - we are urging Member States to endorse the guidance that has been developed by WHO on this issue and to develop a comprehensive framework for monitoring the implementation of the actions. See here.
  2. Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) - we are calling for Member States to endorse the report, to implement the recommendations in a comprehensive way and to develop a monitoring framework. See here
  3. Decade of Action on Nutrition - we welcome the UN's declaration of a Decade for Action on Nutrition and urge Member States to seize this opportunity to make real progress and impact on ending malnutrition in all its forms. See here
  4. Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA) - we raise concern that the current proposals do not have sufficient safeguards in place to protect the WHO from undue influence from the private sector. See here.

We are pleased to be working with so many other NGOs, including Jamie Oliver and his foundation, to stimulate real action and political will around the world to tackle obesity!


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