Europe is fat, and is getting fatter. It is a worrying trend - obese people are more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer and other diseases. We want to get young people involved in highlighting the dangers of an unhealthy diet, empowering them to challenge norms and to instigate change. By working with partners to co-create strategies to address issues around poor diets, taking into consideration factors such as food policy, deprivation, inequalities, migration and culture.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
23% of Europeans are now obese (WHO, 2014). Fuelled by high levels of deprivation, social inequalities and migration, this is only getting worse. Obesity is complicated, involving what and how we eat as well as the activity we take. The focus of this project is the affordability, accessibility, availability and advertising of food, and action young citizens can take to address the issue of obesity in their region and beyond.
The project will engage, inspire and empower young people (aged 18-25) to advocate for better health for their communities. Based on work in the UK and internationally, the project will provide the tools and know-how to challenge industry, lobby for policy change and work with communities to create healthier food environments. Advocacy methods and activities will vary across countries, providing the opportunity to learn from others. Shared experiences are good!
With varying levels of obesity, diverse approaches to food and traditions of advocacy, partners from Poland (25.1% obese), Italy (21%), Portugal (20.1%) and the UK (28.1%) (WHO, 2014) will bring a range of issues, ideas and actions to the project. Following an inception workshop, project leads will recruit youth advocates who will receive training on obesity, diet, the food industry; campaigning and project management. Each group will develop a specific project plan that is consumer-driven, strength-based, locally focused, and with a bottom-up orientation. There will be a strong presence on multiple social media platforms. An event will be held at the end of the project to reflect and embed the results in pilot countries, and scale up the project for greater EU level impact.
The project will yield a cohort of advocates who will gain valuable skills and knowledge about leadership, campaigning and project management. Citizens residing in the four partner countries will benefit from the project through focussed campaigns, peer-to-peer education and sensitisation.
Whilst a similar approach has been used to tackle smoking behaviour in the UK and internationally, an advocacy approach to food and food industry is new (see our campaign www.giveuplovingpop.org.uk). The project will give young people the knowledge and skills to challenge norms, make a difference and will allow an advocacy model to be developed and embedded in communities across Europe.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
Delivery of training, including travel (HEG) £8,000 Facilitation of regular meetings (Partner x 4) £16,000 Independent advocacy project x 4 (Partner x 4) £16,000 Management and ongoing support (HEG) £10,000 Marketing and communications (HEG) £10,000 Closing event (including travel for all involved in the project) (HEG) 10,000