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CO-CREATE Confronting obesity: Co-Creating policies with youth

The overall aim of CO-CREATE is to reduce the prevalence of obesity among adolescents in Europe through policy actions to promote a healthier food and physical activity environment.

CO-CREATE will contribute to the evidence and infrastructure for local and national policy changes to make healthy choices the easiest, most appealing, and preferred choices for adolescents across Europe, thus reducing the burden of obesity and related non-communicable diseases, both now and in the future.

About the project

Childhood obesity is on the rise across Europe. By 2025, overweight and obesity is expected to affect one in every five children.

What we eat and how much we move are direct results of the many individual choices we make each day. Obesity prevention efforts have often focused on trying to influence such individual choices as if they were conscious and rational. However, a large and growing body of research shows that people’s nutrition and physical activity behaviours are influenced by complex sets of contextual elements, including unhealthy and unsupportive physical, social, cultural, economic, and political environments.To be successful in reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity, we need to move towards comprehensive policies addressing the food and physical activity systems and environments surrounding us, reshaping the context to make healthy choices the easiest and most widely preferred.

To achieve the overall aim, the project is organised into 10 work packages (WP1 – WP10) - see the CO-CREATE project webpage for details. The Public Health Nutrition group is involved in the activities in the following work packages; WP4, WP5 & WP6, and is leading WP7.


  • WP4: Obesity system mapping
    • The overall objective of WP 4 is to identify the key factors driving obesity in adolescents and generate system maps to identify the key opportunities for policy interventions to tackle the problem of adolescent obesity.
    • In the spring of 2019, four system mapping workshops were conducted with 16-18 year olds from upper secondary schools with vocational and academic training and in urban and rural settings. These are currently being compared and contrasted with the maps from the UK, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and South Africa.

  • WP5: Youth Alliances for overweight Prevention Policies 
    • The overall objective of WP 5 is to inform and develop novel, context specific and evidence based policy options for obesity prevention through involvement and participation of youth from diverse background across Europe. This will be achieved by establishing 3 youth alliances per country (Norway, the Netherlands, UK, Poland and Portugal).

    • In the school year 2019/2020 an alliance was run at Gran in Hadeland and a digital alliance was started in collaboration with PRESS in the spring of 2020 during the COVID-19. These alliances resulted in five policy proposals. More details on this is provided on the project web-page in Norwegian

  • WP6: Dialogue forums
    • The overall objective of WP 6 is to bring together adolescents, policy makers and businesses to produce actionable commitments to enable healthy nutrition and physical activity habits for obesity prevention.

    • The dialog forums have become extensions of the youth alliances formed in WP5 due to the COVID-19 situation. We expected to run at least one in the spring of 2021.

  • WP7: Evaluation of CO-CREATEd policy interventions and methodology
    • The overall objective of WP7 is to evaluate the CO-CREATion, using process, output and impact data. Evaluation will be conducted using both quantitative and qualitative data, as well as an adaptable systems dynamics core model to simulate potential effects of obesity related policy interventions suggested by the youth alliances.
    • The system dynamics model is currently being developed by our collaborators at the University of Bergen. A questionnaire has been developed to assess changes in the youth and stakeholders participating in the youth alliances and the dialog fora, and the youth data are currently being analysed. There will be implementation and evaluation plans made for at least one policy per country. The protocol for writing these plans has been developed and is currently being implemented in the five case-study countries. 


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Work Programme 2016-2017: Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy) under grant agreement No 774210.


The project is coordinated by the Norwegian Public Health Institute and the whole list of collaborators can be found on the CO-CREATE webpage

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Published Oct. 30, 2019 12:05 PM - Last modified Apr. 13, 2021 3:57 PM