A united Europe fighting obesity

(Author: Peter B Nielsen, Strategic Project Manager, University of Copenhagen

Obesity is high and increasing in Europe and worldwide. A Danish consultation process has identified key research challenges, opportunities and priorities for the future Danish and European research. 

The prevalence of childhood and adult obesity is high and increasing in Europe and worldwide. Tackling obesity is a cornerstone in preventing and treating type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, as well as cancer, infertility and musculoskeletal disorders. The scale of the challenge posed by the obesity epidemic calls for collaboration across borders, disciplines, and institutions.

The Danish consultation process 

A Danish consultation process was initiated by DanORC and UNIK ‘Food, Fitness & Pharma' together with CreoDK in the spring 2011, in order to identify key research challenges, opportunities and priorities for the future Danish and European research.

Outcome of the Danish consultation process

The consultation process culminated at a workshop the 18th of August hosted by the University of Copenhagen and the key message was that obesity research for the next century will make the following possible:

  • Communicating sustainable messages on healthy choices and explore complementary technological approaches to support the consumer.
  • Developing both healthy food products and novel concepts for physical activity which are accepted, attractive and chosen by the consumers.
  • Creating early diagnostic and target prevention and treatment for individuals who are prone to develop obesity and related diseases.
  • Develop means to avoid stigmatization and counterproductive reactions of regulations, recommendations, and interventions aiming at tackling obesity.
  • Create strategies for tailormade pharmaceutical treatment regimes and novel drugs, with minimal adverse effects.

Summary of the Danish process 

The outcome of the consultation process has by November 2011 been summed up in the document ‘Summary of the Danish Consultation Process - Obesity towards 2020'. The summary reveals a range of research ideas, based on inputs from leading researchers in multiple disciplines, which is now made available for the public.

Download summary of the Danish Consultation Process

Bi-lateral synergies towards EurObesity2020

The Danish consultation process and the summary is a first step in discussion of future bi-lateral synergies and liaison between the Danish and German research initiatives on obesity towards Horizon2020.

The Danish consultation process will be followed up by a workshop in Germany in December 2011 and a strategic conference in Brussels early 2012 organized by EASO in collaboration with the European Commission in an initiative known as EurObesity2020. These initiatives are to provide expert recommendations for the European Commission on the importance and exact role of obesity related research for the future.


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