The childhood overweight and obesity epidemic has become a global emergency in public health and a crucial challenge of the twenty-first century. Nowadays, childhood and adolescent obesity represent a significant public health problem both in developing and developed countries. Globally, above 340 million children and adolescents aged 5–19 years were overweight or obese in 2016. Childhood obesity is a critical burden because it can be associated with a higher possibility of obesity, premature death, and disability in adults, as well as early markers of cardiovascular disease. In Europe, childhood obesity remains a significant health challenge and is distributed disparately across and between countries and population groups. In 2019, over 398,000 children aged 6–9 years were severely obese in Europe. Particularly, Southern European countries such as Greece, Italy, Malta, San Marino, and Spain had one in five children obese in 2018. In Europe, different initiatives and actions have been launched in recent years to fight childhood obesity. However, the progress on combating obesity in children has been slow and inconsistent across the region. In this chapter, we have discussed the prevalence of obesity in children and existing policies to combat childhood obesity in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region.
Part of the book: Teamwork in Healthcare