STOP websiteChildhood obesity has grown to become one of the most dramatic features of the global obesity epidemic, with dire long-term consequences on health, social and economic outcomes. It has been fuelled by changes in social norms and living environments that have led to excessive and imbalanced nutrition, sedentary lifestyles, and ultimately obesity and the diseases associated with it.

The Horizon 2020-funded STOP project (Science and Technology in childhood Obesity Policy), involving 31 research, advocacy and governmental organisations from 16 countries, will examine potential opportunities for interventions to help reduce the high burden of childhood obesity in Europe. This includes improving our understanding of how the environment in which we live shapes children’s behaviours and parents’ choices, starting from before birth. The project will investigate early signs of biological changes due to those behaviours, eventually leading to obesity, and will test whether digital technologies can help very young obese children and their families to achieve sustainable improvements in body weight, especially for children from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. The project is also designed to make the food industry and other commercial players accountable for what children consume, and stimulate them to produce innovative solutions to make children’s consumption healthier. Among other policies, the project will assess the scope for European governments to use levers such as taxes, nutrition labels and marketing restrictions on foods and beverages in tackling childhood obesity.

ISINNOVA will be the project manager for STOP, supporting Imperial College London, and will be responsible for risk management. It will also lead the evaluation of policies on active transport and built environment. Having recently finished building the STOP website, ISINNOVA will issue a bi-annual newsletter with updates on the project’s results, the first issue of which will be released in January 2019.

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The STOP project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 774548.