CO-CREATE: European project on young people, obesity and lifestyle
How can we get young people to choose an active lifestyle and a healthy diet? And how can we bring about lasting change?
The problem of obesity is on the increase in society, and this is not something that can be resolved in an instant. People who change their lifestyle must be sufficiently motivated, and remain so over time. To achieve this, you have to meet your audience.
The EU project CO-CREATE and Nanna Lien at IMB are on the case.
With young people on the team
CO-CREATE is a pan-European partnership aiming to reduce obesity in young people.
The fact that the project is aiming at young people is no coincidence. They are about to develop their own independence and are not too entrenched in their own routines yet. Moreover, they will be the next generation of adults and may pass on new habits to future generations.
The project will get young people and youth organisations involved in creating policies that could reduce obesity among their peers. They will be involved in:
- identifying and formulating relevant policies
- assessing the alternatives offered by private and public stakeholders
- promoting relevant policy actions
- developing tools and strategies for implementation.
CO-CREATE in Norway
Norway is in a strong position in the CO-CREATE partnership. Five Norwegian organisations are included, including the University of Oslo and Nanna Lien. Lien will be heading the evaluation work package.
"What makes this project both challenging and academically exciting is the fact that we will be working closely with young people to formulate policy on the one hand, while on the other we will be placing research in a system perspective that may provide a more realistic evaluation of what will happen when the policy is implemented, says Lien.
Lien goes on to say that both she and her team at IMB are pleased that Norway is one of the case countries.
The EAT Foundation is another Norwegian participant. They will be establishing a forum where young people can meet other stakeholders to discuss political measures and how these should be implemented. Lien's team will be involved in pilot testing this forum.
She is also looking forward to working in partnership with Professor Pål Davidsen and his group at the University of Bergen. They will develop a model that can simulate the effects of the proposed measures. This simulation will be performed by a postdoctoral graduate in Lien's team, working in partnership with the Department of Biostatistics.
CO-CREATE is part of the EU Commission's Horizon 2020 initiative. The project will be taking place between 2018 and 2023 and has a budget of EUR 9.5 million. It involves cooperation between 14 different organisations in 9 countries, most of them European. The partners are universities, national public health institutions and a number of civil society organisations.
Knut-Inge Klepp at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health is coordinating the project.
About the Horizon 2020 programme
Horizon 2020 is divided into three themes;
- Excellent Science, with renowned programmes such as ERC and Marie S. Curie
- Industrial Leadership, aimed primarily at industry and with strong emphasis on innovation
- Societal Challenges, the element for political, top-down and applied research.
CO-CREATE is in the final category, in a sub-programme known as the food programme (Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy).
The University of Oslo is doing a good job as regards the Excellent Science theme, but there has been little activity or success as regards the societal challenges. Hence we have been specifically working on increasing participation in such projects and getting people more interested in them.