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Prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes and promotion of healthy nutritional habits among children and the young

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 11672 | 27 June 2008

Ms Sirpa ASKO-SELJAVAARA, Finland, EPP/CD ; Mr József BERÉNYI, Slovak Republic ; Ms Åse Gunhild Woie DUESUND, Norway ; Mr Iván FARKAS, Slovak Republic ; Mr Axel E. FISCHER, Germany ; Mr Per-Kristian FOSS, Norway ; Mr Jean-Charles GARDETTO, Monaco, EPP/CD ; Mr Andrzej GRZYB, Poland ; Mr Mike HANCOCK, United Kingdom, ALDE ; Ms Olha HERASYM'YUK, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Sinikka HURSKAINEN, Finland, SOC ; Mr Stanisław KALEMBA, Poland, EPP/CD ; Mr Reijo KALLIO, Finland, SOC ; Mr Juha KORKEAOJA, Finland, ALDE ; Mr Eduard KUKAN, Slovak Republic ; Mr Markku LAUKKANEN, Finland, ALDE ; Mr René van der LINDEN, Netherlands ; Mr Eduard LINTNER, Germany ; Mr Hryhoriy OMELCHENKO, Ukraine ; Mr Kimmo SASI, Finland, EPP/CD ; Mr Serhiy SOBOLEV, Ukraine ; Mr Mustafa ÜNAL, Turkey, EPP/CD ; Mr Piotr WACH, Poland, EPP/CD

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified obesity as one of the biggest threats to human health. Worldwide there are now more people who are overweight than underweight.

There is an increasing focus on children’s nutritional habits. In this respect, the school plays an important role. The development of bad eating habits by young people and therefore the increase of nutrition-related diseases is alarming. Globally, the incidence of obesity and associated diseases, for example, type 2 diabetes, has risen over the past 30 years.

Public health and especially the health of children and the young must be protected. Poor excessive food and lack of physical activity are the leading causes of illnesses which are avoidable. A new positive approach to balanced health by promoting nutrition is needed and diet should be stressed as one of the primary health-care factors. Healthy eating should in particular be emphasised in schools as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe should:

  • draw up an outline of healthy behaviour and nutrition among school-age children (increase vegetables, fruit, and fibre consumption and reduce purified sugar and consumption of high energy fat products);
  • draw up a simple, consumer-friendly system for food labelling;
  • support the implementation of responsible advertising practices for energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods, targeted at children;
  • encourage structured, regular access to physical activity for children within the school system;
  • identify actions needed to promote healthy eating habits in social strategies in all Council of Europe countries.