Europe’s largest research project to tackle obesity in children, led by a team based at Imperial College Business School, has funded three industry-led pilot schemes.
The STOP project (Science and Technology in childhood Obesity Policy), which aims to identify and test the best approaches to the prevention and treatment of obesity, especially in younger children, launched a a call for industry-led projects for innovative ways to curb childhood obesity in spring 2019.
The three successful projects were the SWEET App, a mobile and desktop app, promoting physical activity and healthier food choices, FlavorID, an online tool, which collects information on taste preferences and nudges families towards developing healthy eating habits, and Pennotec, a high-fibre low-calorie dietary paste intended to replace fat in children's meals.
Each project received €150,000 from the STOP consortium for development and additional support will be made available in the form of scientific advice and input from the STOP research partners.
Each project will be offered access to the European Consortia (EIT Health and EIT Food), promoting innovation in the food and health sectors.
Professor Franco Sassi, Principal Investigator of the STOP Project and Professor of International Health Policy & Economics at Imperial College Business School, said: “The trends in childhood obesity show just how urgently we need to address this issue across Europe and we therefore need to use a combination of tried and tested policies in conjunction with innovative and novel technologies.”
A total of 158 million children aged five to 19 are obese globally, a number that is predicted to increase to 254 million by 2025, according to recent figures highlighted in the Global Atlas on Childhood Obesity.
The STOP project, launched in 2018, examines the biological changes and behaviours that lead to obesity and how these are caused by the environments in which people live, by observing 17 large groups of children across Europe.
The STOP project’s partner organisations include other university research departments, government bodies, international organisations (WHO, IARC and OECD), civil society organisations concerned with health and children, as well as European Consortia (EIT Health and EIT Food) promoting innovation in the food and health sectors, respectively. Partner organisations are based in 12 EU member states, along with Switzerland, the United States and New Zealand.