Action Networks Tackle Obesity

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To support the implementation of the 2nd Action Plan, three action networks, consisting of groups of countries committed to implementing specific actions against obesity, are being set up in the following areas:

1. Childhood obesity surveillance

The following countries have shown interest in collecting the data for this school year: Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden. The network is led by Portugal.

These countries will measure routinely the trends in overweight and obesity in primary school children according to a common survey protocol. The aim is to have a correct understanding of the progress of the epidemic but also allowing inter-country comparisons within the WHO European Region. A first data collection round is envisaged for the school year 2007/2008 followed by repeated rounds at two-year-intervals. A first network meeting took place in June 2007 and the next meeting will take place in December 2007 in Portugal.

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2. Reducing marketing pressure on children

The following countries have expressed an interest in participating in the network; Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom. The network is led by Norway and a planning meeting was held in Oslo on 27 August 2007. A first network meeting is planned in January 2008. As preparation for the meeting, the network countries will receive a questionnaire in October 2007 to map current national legislation/regulation and action and a background paper with information on current action and national regulation in the area of marketing to children.

3. Reducing salt intake in the population

The following 11 countries have expressed a wish to join the Network: Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Ireland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Spain. In addition contact has been made with the European Commission to explore how the Network can support the work of the Commission. The network is led by the United Kingdom.

The aim of the network is to share experiences between the member countries regarding salt reduction efforts, provide background information and material and act as a resource for technical expertise. A first meeting of the Network is anticipated to share experiences to date and develop further the mechanisms by which the Salt Action Network can support progress on salt reduction across the Region.

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