Novo Nordisk and UNICEF announce new partnership to help prevent childhood overweight and obesity

20 November 2019
Children eat their lunchtime meal at the Shining Star Nursery, which is owned and run by Claudette Thompson in Buckley's Estate in Basseterre on St. Kitts, St. Kitts and Nevis, Tuesday 11 July 2017.
UNICEF/UN075613/Nesbitt
Children eat their lunchtime meal at the Shining Star Nursery, which is owned and run by Claudette Thompson in Buckley's Estate in Basseterre on St. Kitts, St. Kitts and Nevis, Tuesday 11 July 2017.

NEW YORK/ Basværd, 20 November 2019 – Novo Nordisk and UNICEF announced a new partnership today to help prevent childhood overweight and obesity worldwide with an initial focus on interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Under this partnership the United Nations children’s agency and the global healthcare company will combine efforts to enhance knowledge and awareness on how to prevent overweight and obesity and address their root causes. The partnership will initially cover a period of three years.

“Childhood overweight and obesity can contribute to ill health, stigmatization and even reduced educational attainment,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. "With partners like Novo Nordisk, we want to ensure that preventing childhood obesity and overweight becomes a broader societal responsibility, involving governments, civil society, the private sector, communities and families.”

Recent figures from UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report 2019 show that childhood overweight and obesity are on the rise almost everywhere. Today, there are 40 million children under the age of 5 who are overweight. The number of children 5-19 years old who are overweight has nearly doubled in the past 15 years.

“There is no doubt that childhood overweight and obesity is a public health crisis that requires immediate attention. Childhood overweight and obesity is more than an individual choice, this is everybody’s business. Together with UNICEF, we hope to help millions of children lead healthy lives and at the same time ease the burden of obesity to society," says Novo Nordisk President and CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen.

The high burden of childhood overweight and obesity presents serious health, societal and economic consequences for the individual, families, their communities and health care systems, both immediately and in the longer-term. 

The partnership - announced on World Children’s Day – the 30th anniversary of the Child Rights Convention, aims to:

  • Enhance knowledge among decision makers on successful policies to prevent childhood overweight and obesity in middle-income countries;
  • Build awareness of the impact of overweight and obesity on children and their rights and advocate for the need to make systemic changes to address this growing epidemic
  • Drive and strengthen multi-sector interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean with specific focus on Mexico and Colombia.

Media Contacts

Kristina Rasmussen Cook

UNICEF Denmark

Tel: +45 30631939

Sohini Roychowdhury

Communication Specialist

UNICEF Geneva

Tel: +4179 533 5264

Charlotte Zarp-Andersson

Novo Nordisk

Tel: +45 4442 7603

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook