Commissioner puts health focus on young people

Markos Kyprianou has told EurActiv that since the seeds of many
diseases are sown in childhood, it is important to target children
and adolescents in the future health strategy.

“One message that came across strongly from the reflection
process launched last year was the need to target children and
adolescents in our strategy,” said Mr Kyprianou, highlighting an
important outcome of the public consultation on the future
direction of EU health policy. 

The new health strategy will have among its key themes the
promotion of healthy lifestyles, cooperation between EU countries’
healthcare systems and reinforcing Europe’s defences against
infectious diseases, the health commissioner explained in an
exclusive interview with EurActiv. The ‘Health and
Consumer Protection Strategy and Programme 2007-2013’ is scheduled
for adoption by the Commission on 6 April.

“I passionately believe in the importance of promoting healthy
lifestyles,” said the commissioner, indicating that action in
this area is particularly close to his heart. He
will address the primary causes of premature death: “poor diet,
lack of physical activity, smoking and excessive alcohol
consumption.”

Commissioner Kyprianou said that his ambition was to
introduce bans on smoking in public places, similar to those
already in place in Ireland, Italy and Malta. “Of course,
my overriding objective is to reduce the number of Europeans who
smoke,” he said. One of his plans is a four-year 72
million euro campaign, to be launched shortly, with the
objective of informing young people about the dangers of smoking
and encouraging young smokers to kick the habit. 

Mr Kyprianou explained that the Commission is planning to
improve access to health information by launching an EU
health portal serving as a “single point of access” to health
information made available by the EU, its agencies and member state
authorities. The health portal is to aid the cross-border
mobility of patients. 

Click
here
to read the interview in full

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