Launch of the National Action against Childhood Obesity in Greece 2023-2025

18 November 2023
Στην εκδήλωση πραγματοποιήθηκε πάνελ με τη συμμετοχή ειδικών όπως η Τζέσικα Αρδίτη, ο καθηγητής Γιάννης Μανιός, η Άννα Κανδαράκη, ο Πάνος Ιωαννίδης και ο Θοδωρής Παπαλουκάς.
UNICEF/Greece

ATHENS, 18 November - In the presence of the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the National Action against Childhood Obesity in Greece was presented today at a special event at the Zappeion Hall. The event marks the launch of the programme against childhood obesity and is being implemented in cooperation between the Ministry of Health and UNICEF.

The National Action against Childhood Obesity is a comprehensive programme that includes targeted interventions at primary, secondary and tertiary prevention levels, at home, at school, in health services and in the wider community, targeting all children aged 0-17 years and their families. Through a holistic approach and specially designed tools, a cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary and multi-level programme will be developed to change the environment that leads to obesity.

Reforms are foreseen to promote a healthy lifestyle for children - in particular by improving access to healthy food in school canteens, and by integrating nutrition and physical activity education programmes. Early detection of children experiencing overweight and obesity will be done through digital applications and the provision of immediate and free holistic support from specialists. In addition, there will be integration of health data from paediatricians, free sessions with nutritionists and paediatricians, and psychological support. Children who already have an established disease (e.g. diabetes, hypertension) due to overweight/obesity will be referred to specialised paediatric units. A continuous information and awareness raising campaign will be running  at local and national level aiming to change the public’s attitudes and perceptions around nutrition.

The Deputy Minister of Health, Irene Agapidaki stated that: "The school is a community. A community that discusses, finds common ground but also challenges and synthesizes. This is how we want students to welcome this programme. The field of nutrition in terms of health for children, primary and secondary school students in this case, is an opportunity for knowledge not in conditions of compulsion, but with participation and togetherness. Moreover, with this programme, all the players involved in tackling the challenge of childhood obesity are actively engaged: families, paediatricians, nutritionists and sports organisations. With advice, knowledge and targeted interventions".

Α-Δ: O Yπουργός Υγείας, Μιχάλης Χρυσοχοΐδης, ο Πρωθυπουργός Κυριάκος Μητσοτάκης, η Αναπληρώτρια Υπουργός Υγείας, Ειρήνη Αγαπηδάκη και ο Διπλωματικός Εκπρόσωπος της UNICEF στην Ελλάδα, Δρ. Γασάν Χαλίλ.

Similarly, UNICEF Representative in Greece, Dr Khalil Ghassan added: “Today marks a milestone for the well-being of children in Greece. The National Action to combat childhood obesity is an innovative initiative that will set an example for similar programs in and outside of Europe. I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Health and the Government of Greece for this important commitment to the younger generations. It is a special honor and responsibility for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to partner with the Greek State in the implementation of this critical initiative. Together we are turning the page on childhood obesity, for every child.”

The aim of the project is to reduce the risk factors and socio-economic inequalities responsible for the onset of childhood and adolescent obesity, and to combat the consequences of overweight and obesity, leading to chronic diseases and co-morbidities in adulthood, through the promotion of physical activity and healthy eating. The main objective is to reduce obesity in children aged 2-14 years from 37.5% (2019) to 24.5% by 2025. This is a €36 million programme, which is part of the National Plan "Greece 2.0" - National Recovery and Resilience Plan (funded by the European Commission - NextGeneration EU).

The event was honoured with the presence and participation of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Secretaries General of the Government, as well as experts in various sectors who contributed with their participation. In particular, Jessica Arditi, Professor Yannis Manios, Anna Kandaraki, Panos Ioannidis and Thodoris Papaloukas made their remarks and expressed their support for the Ministry's programme. The presentation of the event along with the moderation of the discussion was led by journalist Eleonora Meleti together with UNICEF Youth Advocate Efi Zafeiropoulou.

Detailed information on the content, objectives and stages of completion of the National Action against Childhood Obesity can be found in the attached presentation.

Ο Πρωθυπουργός Κυριάκος Μητσοτάκης και ο Youth Advocate της UNICEF, Παναγιώτης Ράπτης.

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Olga Siokou - Siova
Communication Specialist
UNICEF
Tel: +30 211 2340 297

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