Weight problems in childhood are shown to have a lasting impact on children’s lives, making it harder for them to reach a healthy weight in adulthood and more susceptible to health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes. With nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 overweight or obese, this is a growing epidemic both in the UK and globally.
We were funded by the European Union Executive Agency for Health and Consumers to undertake a youth-led project that used social marketing campaigns to tackle obesity among young people. Working in partnership with organisations in Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic, European Youth Tackling Obesity (EYTO) aimed to motivate young people to eat healthily and be physically active. The peer-to-peer approach meant that all the activities were designed by young people for young people, increasing their participation and engagement.
Evaluating European Youth Tackling Obesity
Our in-house Research Team evaluated the EYTO project, including the international research from our EU partners, and found the project was effective in engaging with young people and increasing their understanding of healthy lifestyles.
We are passionate about the voice of young people and our evaluation found that by putting young people at the centre of the campaigns we gave them greater control over the provision of reliable, relevant and accessible information.
Young people were trained to be Campaign Creators and designed 52 events which took place in 4 countries across the duration of the project. Campaign Creators reported not only an increased understanding of health and wellbeing but also developed social marketing techniques and increased confidence that will help their personal development.
Almost 90% of young people who engaged with the campaigns said that the campaigns were effective in encouraging them to eat a healthier diet and be more physically active. Our research found that the key to building upon this success was collaborating with parents and professionals in the community to ensure young people have accessible and available options to make healthy choices.
To find out more about EYTO and its findings and recommendations, visit: www.eyto.org.uk.
You may also be interested in our report Poor Beginnings