Sport associations under-represented in EU obesity platform

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The EU platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health still lacks representatives of the physical-activity side of the obesity problem, says Dr Gernot Wainig.

Dr Gernot Wainig is chairman of the European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation’s (ENGSO) working group on EU affairs. ENGSO is one of the few physical-activity stakeholders that is also a member of the EU platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, the so-called obesity platform launched in March 2005.


To read a shortened vresion of this interview, please click here.

The EU obesity platform seems to be all about food industry. How many physical-activity stakeholders are there and how balanced has the representation between nutrition and physical activity stakeholders been in the discussions? 

There are not so many physical-activity stakeholders at the moment. And you are right on that representatives of the food and nutrition industry are the main group. 

But, as you may know, the sport ministries gave the platform a mandate to develop recommendations for physical activity as well and a group of experts will present such proposals before the end of the year 2007.

What has the obesity platform achieved with regard sports/increasing physical activity so far? 

Well, the members of the platform have recognised that there is a lack of stakeholders representing the physical activity side. Therefore, they have opened the platform and invited more experts to join from sport institutions and federations. They can be helpful in developing recommendations with regard physical activity.

In 2007, the platform was supposed to place special emphasis on physical activity. Is something planned?

In response to the request from the EU sport ministers, experts from ten different countries are currently developing recommendations on physical activity. They are expected to finish their work under the Portuguese Presidency, thus still in 2007.

What is your opinion, as a physical-activity stakeholder, of the recent EU White paper on obesity and its proposed actions with regard encouraging physical activity? Do you think that they will make a difference? 

The White Paper on Health and Nutrition is of course an instrument to make people more aware of obesity. More than 20 million young people all over Europe are overweight and every year 400,000 more children join this category. 

Therefore, the paper proposes activities to decrease the fat-content of foods and boost physical activity.

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