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Conclusions from Uppsala Health Summit 11 -12 October 2016

Press Release   •   Oct 13, 2016 06:30 BST

The following are conclusions and proposals developed during the multi-party dialogues held during Uppsala Health Summit, 11 – 12 October 2016:

Dialogues at Uppsala Health Summit have focused on next steps to take, and which are the most appropriate stakeholders for these. Dialogues in the eight workshops have also aimed at identifying key aspects where we still lack evidence, data or knowledge.

There was general agreement on the need for multi-stakeholder interventions, which however will not release governments from their overall responsibility for children’s right to a healthy environment.

Some of the conclusions from the workshops and the plenum discussions:

- Ethical considerations deserve more attention. Include a dialogue on possible ethical dilemmas as part of the further development of WHO´s implementation plan.

- Fiscal measures have a strong potential as a policy tool to combat childhood obesity, but need to be combined with other measures to reach desired outcome on obesity rates. Fiscal measurers can include taxes or subsidies, or both. To focus on only taxes may limit the potential of fiscal measures. Using subsidies can have advantages from an equity point of view, and also make fiscal measures more acceptable. A tax base should be as broad as possible to avoid substitution between products.

- Policies addressing our lifestyles must be based on the current composition of our societies. Migration, within or crossing national borders, is increasing quickly. A global plan as well as national governmental plans and should consider the special challenges that these population groups meet, and name them. Action plans must also be based on solid data on the current population mix.

- Schools are key arenas for combatting childhood obesity. If health theory shall transition into practice, teachers need support and training. International comparisons of schools need to have a more holistics approach. Criteria for academic performance need to be complemented by criteria for assessing healthy eating, physical activity and health literacy.

- The food value chain actors are important stakeholders to change the obesogenic environment, but we need a clear political leadership that drives demands for actions from the industry. Clear targets were asked for, as individual companies may be reluctant to make first moves, fearing a competitive disadvantage. Broad joint initiatives, defining or refining targets, can further drive this capacity for change. This can be complemented by empowered and/or incentivize consumers, thus increasing the value of healthy food options and to drive change.

- Empowerment should be considered as a powerful tool to carry out a number of recommendations and related actions proposed in the draft implementation plan. Global and local leadership is needed but local ownership is essential. This enables local anchorage and promotes local coordination of interventions.

- It was suggested to initiate ECHO-zones, geographical areas with special attention to combatting childhood obesity. Establishment of the zones provide a structure to initiate multi-stakeholder activities (using a bottom up as well as top down approach), and offer the possibility to scale up activities.

A full Post-Conference Report from Uppsala Health Summit will be published in January 2017.

For more information, please contact Professor Rikard Landberg, Chair of the Program committee, Uppsala Health Summit, mail:; tel +46 72 548 23 50

Uppsala Health Summit is an annual international arena for selected decision makers, opinion formers and experts from all over the world, to engage in solution oriented dialogue, with focus on challenges to health and healthcare. The goal is to use our combined knowledge from research and innovations to lay the first building blocks for concrete actions.

The partners behind Uppsala Health Summit are Uppsala University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the Swedish National Food Administration, the Swedish Medical Products Agency, the Swedish National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala County Council, the City of Uppsala and the not-for-profit network “Worldclass Uppsala”.