Tackling Childhood Overweight and Obesity

by | Sep 14, 2022 | Advocacy, European News, News, Portugal

Today on September 14 2022, the World Health Organisation held a ‘Tackling Childhood Overweight and Obesity in the WHO European Region’ parallel session at #RC72TLV.


Transcripts are auto generated, if you find an error, please let us know.

Hello, my name is Mário Silva, and I would like to share with you my experience on obesity prevention over the last 10 years, working with more than half a million children in Portuguese schools. But first, let me tell you about my personal story with obesity. In 2004, obesity was recognized in Portugal as a chronic disease.

I was 17 years old, and I remember to realize that all stigma around my grandmother’s weight, all her life, could have been avoided. She was not fat, she was a person living with a disease. Maybe, if my grandmother had received prevention and treatment for obesity a few years earlier, it would not have been necessary to fight cancer later, passing away in 2011.

On that same year, I was launching Fruit Hero School Challenge, a low-cost prevention program developed by Portuguese Association Against Childhood Obesity that provide ready-to-use educational materials, combining storytelling and gamification techniques, with science-based guidelines about child nutrition and health literacy, with proven results on reaching five-a-day intake of fruits and vegetables. In addition, it also increases daily water intake and physical activity. According to researchers from Lisbon’s Faculty of Medicine, 40% of children that participated for the first time reached WHO daily recommended portions of fruits and vegetables in only five weeks.

After 10 weeks, this percentage increases to 60%, and in schools that repeated in the following year, reached 90% of the class. A pilot test adapting Fruit Hero’s methodology to other European countries, such as Italy, Greece or Cyprus, showed very similar results. Our aim for the future is to make the Fruit Hero’s methodology available to all children in Europe, with the help and support of our great partner, European Coalition of People Living with Obesity.

Thank you and I wish you all a great event.

This parallel session showcased best practices in obesity policy action from several Member States, and provided Member States with the opportunity to express interest and share areas for priority action to halt the rise in childhood obesity.

The session included speakers from NGOs and a person living with obesity.

We were honoured to have patient voices delivered at the session with a strong statement from our president Solveig Sigurdardottir.

To find out more on how our colleagues are working in the #Obesity prevention area in Portugal, please watch and share this inspiring video from APCOI president Mario Silva.