Childhood obesity event at Dutch Embassy attended by experts from around the UK
The Amsterdam Healthy Weight Programme, aimed at tackling childhood obesity in the Dutch capital, is inspiring boroughs throughout the UK to follow suit. To enable knowledge sharing between Dutch and British policy advisors and public health workers, the Dutch Embassy in the UK organised a Childhood Obesity Seminar on 29 January 2019. Dozens of professionals from all over the UK attended this event, organised in collaboration with the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London.
Amsterdam Healthy Weight Programme
A keynote speech by Karen den Hertog, programme director of the City of Amsterdam's Healthy Weight Programme, was followed by a very insightful panel discussion with British health experts Prof. Corinna Hawkes (Director of the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London and Vice Chair of London's Child Obesity Taskforce), Health Economist Dr. Emma Frew (from the University of Birmingham's Institute of Applied Health Research), Dr. Arif Rajpura (Director of Public Health at Blackpool Council) and Jon Siddall (Director of Funding at the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity).
Public health a collective responsibility
Severely overweight or obese people often develop very serious diseases as a result of their unhealthy lifestyle, including diabetes, heart disease and various types of cancer. A deteriorating health that makes people dependend on medication and other support is not just dramatic for those people living with these lifestyle-related diseases, it often also puts a heavy burden on the support system around them: family, friends and the public health services.
All experts agree that tackling the problem requires a collective responsibility. In today's society, the unhealthy option often is the easiest option: high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and drinks are cheap and widely available and most people's day-to-day tasks can be done without moving much nowadays. Politicians and policymakers are realising that they too have a responsibility in curbing this worrying trend.
The City of Amsterdam works with various public and private partners to remove unhealthy stimuli from the environment, to make children's playgrounds more attractive, to install water taps around the city, and to take various other actions that combat obesity, mainly in children. The City of London has recently announced similar measures, including the well-reported ban on junk food advertising in tube stations and bus stops across London.
©Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the United Kingdom
To view the photos taken at this event visit the Flickr page of the Embassy.
Questions or comments? Contact the Dutch Embassy in the United Kingdom on LON-PPC@minbuza.nl