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always be taken into account. National specifi cities must always be considered in any case, because at the end of the day each country is different, with different health challenges.”


european strategy So what is the current EU position regarding physical activity? “Since 2007, there’s been an EU strategy on nutrition, health and physical activity, developed in response to a call from all Member State governments. At its heart, it’s a strategy to fight obesity and the chronic diseases obesity is linked to


– the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which are responsible for 63 per cent of all deaths in the world. These are caused by four key factors: unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, tobacco use and alcohol abuse. “We have data showing that unhealthy


eating and physical inactivity are on the rise across Europe, leading to a growing obesity trend and a consequent rise in


NCDs; in the latest European survey on Sport and Physical Activity – published in March 2010 – 34 per cent of all respondents said they seldom or never took part in physical activity. The EU strategy is therefore designed to address the growing problem of obesity and other weight-related issues by addressing both nutrition and physical activity – you can’t do one without the other.” She continues: “This strategy was


adopted by all governments and endorsed by the European Parliament, to run from 2007 to the end of 2013. But how do we tackle physical activity and healthy eating in the context of that strategy? We can’t introduce laws that impose on governments ways in which they have to introduce policies to make people eat healthily and exercise. In any case, I don’t think people want that sort of nanny state approach. “Instead, we recognised that this was


a problem that cannot be tackled with a single-pronged approach, be that


“INCREASINGLY GOVERNMENTS ARE COMING BACK TO US AND ASKING US TO DO MORE TO FIGHT OBESITY”


march 2012 © cybertrek 2012


The food, fi tness and


medical communities are all stakeholders in the fi ght against obesity


laws or voluntary action. It requires co-ordinated action aimed at specifi c objectives: promoting healthy eating, promoting awareness on obesity health- related issues, reformulating food to make it healthier, creating opportunities for more exercise, providing the right environment so that physical activity becomes part of people’s lives, involving schools and local communities. It requires a holistic approach. “So we brought together everybody


that has anything to do with the problem – not just Member State governments and local authorities but also all the stakeholders, such as the food industry, the fi tness industry, the play sector, the medical community, civil society organisations, consumer organisations. And then we asked each stakeholder to propose actions to fi ght Europe’s worrying health trends – rising obesity and falling levels of physical activity. “In doing this, we created the EU’s


Platform for Diet, Health and Physical Activity – the fi rst of its kind. It’s a kind of ‘club’ that meets a few times a year


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 31


PIC: WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


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