COVID-19’s influence on European obesity strategies

This white paper provides a snapshot of anti-obesity measures adopted in Europe, across the EU and non-EU countries.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) figures, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 19751. The effects of obesity on health and life expectancy are well established; it is linked to certain types of cancer as well as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also become apparent that obese patients with the virus were more likely to be admitted to intensive care and experience higher rates of mortality. Tackling the obesity crisis was already a high priority for many nations; COVID-19 adds another layer of urgency to the situation. It’s highly likely that governmental obesity strategies will become more stringent, which will almost certainly have a knock-on effect for food business operators across Europe. This white paper looks at current regulations associated with obesity in the EU (spotlighting
France and Poland) as well as the UK and Switzerland. It also considers wider governmental responses to rising obesity levels. All these factors will impact the food and beverage industry, driving change in multiple areas from advertising and labelling to the formulation of products.

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