Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle shows concrete results for EU citizens

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Two years after its launch, there is good progress in delivering on the Tartu Call to promote healthy lifestyles across the EU. 

In the Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle, Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, and Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, made 15 commitments to promote healthy lifestyles through sport, food, innovation or research. The first results clearly show that the Commission is using more funds, raises more awareness and gathers more knowledge to tackle unhealthy diets, obesity or physical inactivity, since the launch of the Tartu Call.

Today, the three commissioners in charge are hosting an event in Brussels to take stock of the results of the Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle and explore further steps.

Commissioner Hogan said: “The progress made is a strong signal to show that working together can bring great results. From balanced diets to regular physical activity, more needs to be done but I am confident that we are on the right track.

Commissioner Andriukaitis said: ”When we promote health, we make an investment in our future. The Tartu Call is a good example of how we can do this, in all policies, bringing together health, research and environment. Let’s keep this going.”

Commissioner Navracsics said: “We have started to make a difference over the last two years, but this is only a first step. We must keep working together and step up our efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and use the power of sport to boost well-being and community-building.”

The main results include:

  1. Increase in funding: In the past two years, EU funds to promote healthy lifestyles have steadily increased across the board. For example, the budget to support projects promoting physical activity under the Sport chapter of the Erasmus+ programme nearly doubled from €6 million in 2017 to almost €11 million in 2019. Under the EU Promotion Policy 2019, €8 million have been dedicated specifically to supporting healthy eating campaigns. In addition, the third EU Health Programme co-funds with €6 million a joint action to share best practices in the field of nutrition between European countries.
  1. More awareness: With an annual budget of €250 million, the EU School Scheme supports the distribution of fruit, vegetables and milk to schools across the EU and raises awareness of the benefits of healthy eating. It reached over 20 million children in the 2017/18 school year alone.  A ‘Teachers’ Resource Pack’ containing a collection of ready-to-use teaching and learning resources is also helping to raise awareness among young Europeans of the importance of food, the environment and the role played by farmers in our society and economy.
  1. Better knowledge: Cooperation with other EU institutions and continuous support to EU Member States and civil society, for example by collecting, compiling and sharing best practice and evidence, are instrumental to promote healthier lifestyles. As a part of the Tartu Call, the European Commission released new country factsheets developed with the World Health Organization that provide country-specific information on physical activity levels and promotion policies in the EU. They aim to support evidence-based policies and ensure that policy-makers can rely on solid evidence to encourage more people to be active.

At the event today, the three Commissioners will reaffirm their commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles and will send a message to the next Commission to continue this work. It will conclude with the signature of a joint statement and an award ceremony, recognising best practices in the areas of healthy and sustainable food systems and reducing mortality by non-communicable diseases.

Background

The Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle was launched at a seminar on healthy lifestyles organised during the opening of the 2017 European Week of Sport in Tartu, Estonia. Commissioners NavracsicsAndriukaitis and Hogan signed the Tartu Call warning against childhood obesity, unhealthy diets or physical inactivity. It contains 15 commitments bringing together work in a range of fields, such as sport, food, health, innovation and research, to promote healthy lifestyles.

Beyond strengthening cooperation across different Commission departments, the Tartu Call sends a strong signal on the importance of healthy lifestyles, and invites EU Member States and civil society to contribute.

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