European Union public opinion on policy measures to address childhood overweight and obesity
- 86 Downloads
Increases in pediatric overweight and obesity throughout the European Union (EU) generate concern because of the many associated co-morbidities, psychosocial effects, and economic costs. A variety of policy approaches have been implemented, but counteracting weight gain has proven challenging. Do differences in public opinion about policy options to fight the problem exist among EU countries? We obtained data for our study from the Eurobarometer and include representative samples from all EU Member States plus four prospective countries. Our results suggest strong consistency among EU countries in support for two policies: providing information to parents and more physical activity in schools. For improving children's diets, our data show widespread support for providing parents with information, education programs in schools, and restrictions on advertising. For reducing childhood obesity, more physical activity in schools received the most support followed by education and advertising restrictions. There was very little support for imposing taxes on unhealthy food.
Keywordspublic opinion health communication childhood obesity health policy Eurobarometer European Union
- World Health Organization. (2004) Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Geneva 2004, http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/en/, accessed 2 April 2010.
- European Charter on Counteracting Obesity. (2006) WHO European Ministerial Conference on Counteracting Obesity. Istanbul, Turkey, 15–17 November 2006, EUR/06/50627008.Google Scholar
- Lobstein, T., Kestens, M. and Løgstrup, S. (2006) Policy Options to Prevent Child Obesity. Stakeholder Consultations Carried Out in the Context of the Project On: Children, Obesity and Associated Avoidable Chronic Diseases. Brussels, Belgium: The European Heart Network.Google Scholar
- Commission of the European Communities. (2005) Green Paper. Promoting healthy diets and physical activity: A European dimension for the prevention of overweight, obesity and chronic diseases. Brussels (COM2005) 637 final; http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/life_style/nutrition/documents/nutrition_gp_en.pdf.
- Papacostas, A. (2006) Eurobarometer 64.3: Foreign languages, biotechnology, organized crime, and health items, November–December 2005 [Computer file]. ICPSR04590-v2. Brussels, Belgium: TNS Opinion & Social/EOS Gallup Europe [producers], 2006. Cologne, Germany: Zentralarchiv fur Empirische Sozialforschung/Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributors], 2007-04-11.Google Scholar
- Story, M.T. et al (2002) Management of child and adolescent obesity: Attitudes, barriers, skills, and training needs among health professionals. Pediatrics 110: 210–214.Google Scholar
- Snyder, L. et al (2008) Meta-analysis of the effectiveness of tailored interventions over time. Presented at the American Public Health Association Conference 2008.Google Scholar
- Hearn, L., Miller, M., Campbell-Pope, R. and Waters, S. (2006) Preventing overweight and obesity in young children: synthesising the evidence for management and policy making. Perth, Australia: Child Health Promotion Research Centre, Edith Cowan University.Google Scholar
- Hastings, G. et al (2003) Review of Research on the Effects of Food Promotion to Children. Glasgow, UK: Centre for Social Marketing.Google Scholar