STOP - Final Newsletter
Welcome to the final STOP project newsletter

After 4.5 years, STOP came to an end on 30th November 2022. Our great final event in Rome on 21-22 November was the culmination of a fantastic collaboration between researchers, civil society and government organisations, all passionate about advancing our knowledge and understanding of the determinants of childhood obesity, and policies for addressing it. In this final STOP newsletter, we report on the activities over the last 6 months and reflect on the project’s successes over the last few years. As Project Coordinator, I would like to wholeheartedly thank all project partners and consortium members, researchers and students who have contributed to the STOP Project. We can be proud of our achievements, and I look forward to building on this collaboration in the future.

Professor Franco Sassi, Project Coordinator, ICL
A collection of STOP Final Conference delegates outside the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) in the Piazza Navona in Rome (November 2022)

Reflecting on the STOP Project key achievements

The STOP Project emerged in response to a Horizon 2020 funding call focused on childhood obesity. As a result of this project, we now have a stronger evidence base and a better understanding of opportunities for advancing policies to address childhood obesity. The evidence has taught us what interventions work best in addressing the drivers of childhood obesity, particularly in socially disadvantaged children, and how those interventions should be designed and implemented to ensure they are effective. The evidence has also taught us that we need to have realistic expectations and we must seek to create synergies between policies, which requires coherence in policy approaches and design.
Key achievements of the STOP project include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • It has set the foundations for a standardised surveillance system of socioeconomic inequalities in childhood obesity across European countries, and for an extension of the COSI initiative to the measurement of BMI in kindergarten children (age 4 and 5).
  • It has advanced our understanding of the determinants of childhood obesity, including interactions between the external exposome (environment) and the internal exposome, strengthening the evidence that risk starts before birth, and shedding light on some of the biological pathways that link ultra-processed food consumption and childhood obesity (see Obesity Reviews supplement).
  • It has advanced understanding of the effectiveness of interventions and policies, with a particular focus on their impact on reducing social disparities (see Obesity Reviews supplement).
  • It has enhanced the monitoring of public and private sector policies to improve the food environment, applying Food-EPI and BIA-Obesity tools at national and European levels to understand which policies have been implemented and to what extent, setting the foundations of an accountability framework for government and industry actions.
  • It has produced knowledge translation tools to support policymakers when implementing policies to address childhood obesity, in the form of a set of WHO-STOP policy briefs covering reformulation, marketing regulation, front of pack labelling, school physical activity programmes, nudges, fiscal policies, and primary care interventions.
  • It has developed a stakeholder analysis, cooperation and accountability framework to support a viable multi-stakeholder approach in the conception, design and implementation of childhood obesity policies.
  • It has provided support for innovation projects run by start-ups and grassroots organisations, aimed at developing novel approaches to prevent and address childhood obesity.
  • It has developed the Health-GPS microsimulation tool, providing a flexible tool to simulate the future impacts of policies modelling the complex associations between key risk factors and a range of non-communicable diseases.
More details about all the achievements and research findings from the STOP project can be found on the project website.

Final STOP Conference in Rome.
‘Childhood Obesity: Research for Policy’

To mark the end of the project, STOP project partners and other experts and stakeholders with an interest in childhood obesity came together for a 2-day conference held in Rome on 21st - 22nd November, to discuss the key findings and implications of the STOP project outputs for future research and policy priorities.
Full report here

Fourth Stakeholder Conference:  Ljubljana, Slovenia

For the fourth and final time, stakeholders were convened to share insights and perspectives on next steps for addressing childhood obesity in the EU and across Europe. Held in collaboration with WHO Euro, this final meeting brought together national policymakers for the first time since before COVID-19. Policymakers had the chance to share updates and progress on addressing childhood obesity at a national level and identify future priorities and next steps. The event provided a platform to share and discuss the new WHO-STOP briefs that were published in June of this year. In addition, discussions were held on future EU collaboration, as part of the next joint action, with opportunities for STOP research to feed into the prioritisation process amongst member states.
For more information about the event:
See here

Preventing obesity across Europe: A call to action

Following the joint project policy conference held in Brussels earlier this year, the four organising initiatives – STOP, CO-CREATE, JA BestReMap and PEN – have published a call to action for improving policies and advancing research across the European Region. The call to action draws on the research and activities from across the four initiatives and makes a series of recommendations focused on transforming systems and environments, addressing inequalities, harmonizing data and engaging a range of stakeholders in policy decisions, including civil society and young people. The call to action also identifies areas requiring long-term research investment, including for improving understanding about the determinants of health, advancing new methodologies to support implementation and impact research, and a focus on high-risk population groups.
Find out more and download the call to action
Visit here

STOP at the International Congress on Obesity (ICO)

In October, the International Congress on Obesity (ICO) was held in Melbourne, Australia. Members of the STOP project team took the opportunity to showcase STOP’s state-of-the-art findings and tools at the event. Information was presented at a well-attended workshop held in collaboration with its sister project, CO-CREATE.
More info here

Health-GPS: A microsimulation tool by Alijadallah Belabess

Health-GPS is a microsimulation tool developed by Imperial College London as part of the STOP project to assess the effectiveness of policies by producing close-to-reality projections of populations over many decades.
Read more here

STOP factsheets

Eight factsheets have been created by the World Obesity Federation, in collaboration with STOP work package leaders. The goal was to communicate work package research in an accessible and appealing format for the range of STOP beneficiaries. To aid this goal, research has been summarised and communicated in a lay language format, with relevant images to enhance the impact. The overall purpose is to ensure research from each package extends beyond academic disciplinary boundaries, as well as providing a channel to engage and empower civil society. It is important that all beneficiaries can learn from STOP findings and improve their knowledge to act for better children’s health.

The factsheets mirror the work package research groups and cover: measuring childhood obesity, disparities and geographical variations, key determinants of childhood obesity, fiscal policies, labelling and marketing restrictions, influencing food choices and food environments, the role of physical activity, healthcare and multi-stakeholder engagement.
Download here

Healthy voices

In collaboration with the CO-CREATE project, STOP has contributed to the development of the Healthy Voices website. This website is aimed at supporting young people with learning and advocacy on obesity and related policies. The main contribution of the STOP project has been to the Learn section, providing lay summaries of the research that has been carried out to empower young people with new knowledge and to take relevant action. The World Obesity Federation will continue to host the website, and so STOP findings will be shared beyond the end of the project.
Check out healthy voices here


Policy makers and public health organisations called to engage with Food EPI recommendations

A recently released study from the STOP project is the first to systematically assess and monitor the level of food environment policy and infrastructure support implementation in European countries using a validated and adapted tool (the Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI)).

As well as being part of STOP, the research was also involved with the Policy Evaluation Network (PEN) aimed at advancing the evidence base for public policies impacting on dietary behaviour, physical activity, and sedentary behaviour in Europe (JPI Healthy Diet for a Healthy Lifestyle). The participating countries in the research (Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain) are the result of the project partnership.
Find out more about key aspects of the study

Latest releases
(since June 2022)

  • Sílvia Fernández-Barrésa, Oliver Robinson, Serena Fossati, Sandra Márquez, Xavier Basagaña, Jeroen de Bont, Montserrat de Castro, David Donaire-Gonzalez, Léa Maitre, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Dora Romaguera, José Urquiza, Leda Chatzi, Minas Iakovides, Marina Vafeiadi, Regina Grazuleviciene, Audrius Dedele, Sandra Andrusaityte, Gunn Marit Aasvang, Jorunn Evandt, Norun Hjertager Krog, Johanna Lepeule, Barbare Heuder, John Wright, Rosemary M.C. McEachan, Franco Sassi, Paolo Vineis, Martine Vrijheid. Urban environment and health behaviours in children from six European countries. Environment International Volume 165. (July 2022).
For a comprehensive list visit our website page
STOP publications

WHO publishes Global Status report on physical activity

WHO has launched the first global status report on physical activity which charts global progress on country implementation of policy recommendations of the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA) 2018-2030.

Data from 194 countries show that overall, progress is slow and that countries need to accelerate the development and implementation of policies to achieve the global target of a 15% relative reduction in the prevalence of physical inactivity by 2030.

The report also presents an estimate of the cost to health systems of not taking action to improve physical activity levels and reinforces the urgent need to position physical activity as a shared, whole-of-government priority, and to strengthen coordination and partnerships to promote physical activity.
Read the full report here

Economic impact of overweight and obesity set to reach 3.3% of global GDP by 2060

World Obesity and RTI International recently published a new research paper and summary report estimating the current and projected economic impact of overweight and obesity in 161 countries. The peer-reviewed research – published in BMJ Global Health – provides the first-ever country-specific global estimate of the economic impacts of overweight and obesity. It found that the economic impact in the 161 countries is estimated to rise from 2.19% of GDP in 2019 to 3.3% by 2060. However, it also predicted that US$2.2 trillion could be saved annually if overweight and obesity prevalence remained at 2019 levels. In light of the research, World Obesity and RTI called for concerted and holistic action to reduce the environmental drivers of obesity and other non-communicable diseases.

The economic data for each of the 161 countries included in the research can be explored and downloaded on the Global Obesity Observatory.

News from the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA): Give Kids a Break! What next for EU action to protect children from harmful food marketing?

Children across Europe continue to be exposed to food marketing that harms their well-being and health. On Tuesday 28 June 2022, a discussion was held in the European Parliament, gathering Members and other public interest stakeholders to reflect on the next steps for EU action to protect children from harmful food marketing. Eight MEPs from four political groups contributed to this occasion, alongside the Spanish Attaché on Consumer Affairs, the World Health Organization (WHO) and academic experts. This event built on previous discussions, as the European Parliament has twice called on the Commission to introduce comprehensive legislation to protect children from the marketing of processed foods high in fats, sugar and salt (see reports on Farm to Fork and Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan).
To learn more, download the event report


CO-CREATE aims to prevent overweight and obesity in adolescents by providing knowledge and infrastructure on policies to support making the healthiest choices the preferred ones. Adolescents are included in all aspects of the project, rooting the perspective of the key stakeholders themselves into project activities.

At this year’s International Congress on Obesity in Melbourne, CO-CREATE  joined STOP to hold a joint workshop and share key findings and tools at an exhibition stand.
For more information, visit the
CO-CREATE website

Save the date - World Obesity Day

World Obesity Day will take place on 4th March.

More details about next year's campaign will be made available at

Save the date - Lancet Summit

Lancet Summit on Childhood Obesity. Speakers to be announced over the coming weeks.

For further information visit the
Lancet Summit web page.
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