On June 4 and 5 the steering committee (see picture) of the HOPE project met at the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. HOPE stands for Health promotion through Obesity Prevention across Europe. More information on the project can be obtained at http://www.hopeproject.eu/. I am lucky enough to act as the coordinator of this project, assisted by two colleagues from Erasmus University Medical Centre, Willemieke Kroeze and Mauricio Avendano (the two on the right of the front row).
Obesity is one of the main health determinants in terms of burden of disease in Europe, accounting for up to 7% of all healthcare expenditures. It is largely determined by modifiable environmental and life-style factors, which offers a great potential for prevention. The fact that obesity treatment is largely ineffective in the long run, make efforts to prevent unnecessary weight gain even more important. Successful primary prevention could reduce future demands for health care associated with obesity-related chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
In order to design successful primary prevention campaigns, thorough understanding of the behavioural and environmental determinants with a potential for modification is needed. This should take into account the situation in different socio-economic groups
HOPE-project wants to bring all the scientific knowledge on overweight, obesity and their determinants together and use the expertise of researchers all over Europe to help to tackle the obesity epidemic.
HOPE was initiated together with Professor Philip James and Dr. Tim Lobstein of the International Obesity Task Force/International Association of the Study of Obesity (IOTF; http://www.iotf.org/ ; IASO; http://www.iaso.org/). HOPE brings together a core group of researchers from the Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Italy, France, Norway, Sweden with an extensive ‘Network of Networks’ with researchers, policy workers and other advocates for evidence-based action towards obesity prevention from across the Europe.
We had a successful steering committee meeting to kick start the project and the actual work is now fully in progress. Please check our HOPE project website regularly!