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Childhood obesity on the agenda as experts gather in Uppsala

Press Release   •   Oct 11, 2016 06:30 BST

At Uppsala Health Summit on childhood obesity, which starts today on World Obesity Day, experts from health organisations, the academic community, the business sector and non-governmental organisations meet to discuss how we can work together to combat the ongoing obesity epidemic.

Uppsala Health Summit uses the WHO’s report on childhood obesity as a starting point in assuming an active role in efforts to develop a global action plan on childhood obesity which the WHO will present to the World Health Assembly next summer. Among the summit delegates are representatives of several influential Swedish and international societal actors. Some examples of well-known participants are Corinna Hawkes, internationally leading expert on nutrition policy issues, Gabriel Wikström, Swedish Minister for Health Care, Public Health and Sport, and Professor Claude Marcus, Project Manager for the Early STOPP project at Karolinska Institutet.

On day one, the plenary discussions will among other things highlight experiences of different measures against childhood obesity from around the world. One of the speakers is Alejandro Calvillo, Director of the Mexican consumer rights organisation El Poder del Consumidor, who has long fought for the introduction of a sugar tax on soft drinks in Mexico. On day two, discussions will focus on how policies better can make use of research findings in the struggle against childhood obesity. Taking part in that discussion are also philosopher and ethics researcher Garrath Williams, Professor Claude Marcus, and Maria Bonilla-Chacín, economist and expert on health and nutrition policy at the World Bank.

Finally, the delegates will gather for round table discussions on how different actors can collaborate on local and global initiatives which seek to end the childhood obesity epidemic.

Childhood obesity facts:
• Overweight among children under five increased from 4.8 to 6.1 per cent worldwide between 1990 and 2014.
• Some 42 million children under five are obese or overweight. If the current trend continues, that number will be 70 million in 2025.
• The majority of obese or overweight children in 2025 will live in low- or middle-income countries.
• In high-income countries the increase is levelling off, but among socially vulnerable groups childhood obesity is still on the rise.
• In 2014, 13 per cent of the world population was obese.
• 350 million people, or five per cent of the world population, suffer from diabetes.
• The incidence of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase by 100 per cent by the year 2035.

More information about Uppsala Health Summit, the programme and speakers:

Read the WHO report on childhood obesity.

Previous press releases for Uppsala Health Summit 2016:

Uppsala Health Summit 2016: Pre-conference report

Childhood Obesity in Focus at Uppsala Health Summit

Uppsala Health Summit is organised by Uppsala University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), the Swedish Medical Products Agency, the Swedish National Food Agency, the Swedish National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala County Council, Uppsala Municipality and World Class Uppsala.

For more information, please contact:
Project Manager Madeleine Neil, +46 70 425 08 91, or Senior Press Officer Anneli Waara, +46 70 425 07 18,

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