Science & Technology in childhood Obesity Policy (STOP), a European Commission-funded Horizon 2020 project has funded three industry-led pilot projects in three European countries. Each pilot approaches the problem of childhood obesity from a
- The SWEET App, a mobile and desktop app, promotes physical activity and healthier food choices through identifying local community-based assets and by directly working with families with young children;
- FlavorID®, an online tool, collects information on taste preferences and nudges family’s towards developing healthy eating behaviours;
- Pennotec, has developed a high-fibre low-calorie dietary paste to extend meals and replace fat in school and home meals for children.
Based on the recent figures highlighted in the Global Atlas on Childhood Obesity, 158 million children between 5 and 19 years are living with obesity globally, a number that is predicted to increase to 254 million by 2025. New ways of addressing childhood obesity are urgently needed to support existing policies and known interventions to halt this anticipated rise in childhood obesity. In April 2019, the STOP consortium launched a call for industry-led projects aimed at developing innovations that have the potential to curb childhood obesity in Europe in three areas:
- New “food concepts” — Innovations with the potential to increase the availability, access to, and convenience of fresh and natural foods.
- Innovations in the food retail environment — Innovations in the in-store food choice environment.
- Digital solutions for healthier food and physical activity choices — Digital solutions that may help children, parents, pregnant women and women of childbearing age navigate their food environment.
With support from EIT Health and EIT Food in advertising the call, short-listed applications were interviewed by the consortium and three pilot projects received €150,000 of funding each to carry out their activities over a period of 18 months.
The STOP project will bring together a range of key health and food sector actors to generate scientifically sound and policy-relevant evidence on the factors that have contributed to the spread of childhood obesity in European countries and on the effects of alternative policy options available to address the problem. This evidence will complement, systematise and partly reframe the findings of an established body of prior research by leveraging the latest scientific findings.
*This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 774548.