Obesity in Europe

In Europe, obesity has tripled since 19801, and in 2014 more than 224 million adults were affected by living with overweight, of which almost 80 million had obesity.2 High body mass index (BMI) is responsible for 10-13%of deaths in different parts of Europe,3 making it the 4th most important risk factor for ill health and premature deaths in Europe.4

Obesity is a leading cause of other diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers5 such as colorectal and pancreatic cancer,6 and it reduces healthy life-years due to morbidity and disability.7 All are factors which contribute to obesity accounting for 2-8% of health costs in different parts of Europe.3



OPEN-EU is a new initiative within OPEN, launched in 2020, which seeks to ensure that all relevant European institutional strategies and policies integrate measures that effectively help support people living with obesity.

OPEN-EU aims to unite key EU experts, policy and decision makers covering a wide range of areas including disability, urban planning, sports, healthcare, industry and public health amongst others.

The intention of the coalition is to work together to implement a cross-cutting policy approach at an EU level which seeks to ensure that all relevant European institutional strategies and policies integrate measures that effectively help support people living with obesity. A focus will be to ensure EU nations are empowered and able to provide people living with obesity access to fair, effective obesity treatment and management.

OPEN-EU is part of the global OPEN network which includes national coalitions in over 15 countries including the UK, Italy, Germany and Spain. All coalitions work together, as well as independently, to address national challenges and identify policy opportunities that will help ensure obesity is tackled as the chronic relapsing disease that it is and people living with obesity have the support needed to manage their weight long-term.

To find out more about OPEN-EU’s Terms of Reference (ToR), click below


OPEN-EU News, Policy Position Statements and Updates

Changing the way obesity is viewed and managed in Europe


Changing the status quo in obesity

OPEN-EU’s Manifesto


Contact details

Jacqueline Bowman Busato |OPEN-EU Expert Secretariat | Email: jbowman@easo.org |

Tel: +32 468 222 386 | Twitter: @EASOobesity / @OPENObesity | Web: www.easo.org /  www.obesityopen.org   


1 E. Pineda at al. 2018. Forecasting Future Trends in Obesity across Europe: The Value of Improving Surveillance. Obesity Facts: 11: 360-371
2 World Obesity Federation. 2017. Our data – World Obesity Day [Online] Available at: https://www.obesityday.worldobesity.org/ ourdata2017 [Accessed
September 2018]
3 World Health Organization. 2020. Obesity. [Online] Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/obesity/obesity
[Accessed January 2020]
4 Uerlich M, et al. 2016. Obesity Management in Europe: Current Status and Objectives for the Future. Obesity Facts 9: 273-283
5 Frühbeck G, et al. 2013. Obesity: The Gateway to Ill Health – an EASO Position Statement on a Rising Public Health, Clinical and Scientific Challenge in Europe.
Obesity Facts 6,2: 117-20
6 Lauby-Secretan B, et al. 2016. Body Fatness and Cancer – Viewpoint of the IARC Working Group. New England Journal of Medicine: 375:794-798
7 Visscher, TLS et al. 2004. Obesity and Unhealthy Life-Years in Adult Finns. Arch Intern Med 164: 1413-1420