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Novo Nordisk and UNICEF announce new partnership

Lars Fruergaard Joergensen

Novo Nordisk and UNICEF have announced a new partnership to help prevent childhood overweight and obesity worldwide with an initial focus on interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Under this partnership, the United Nations children’s agency and the global healthcare company will combine efforts to enhance knowledge and awareness on how to prevent overweight and obesity and address their root causes. The partnership will initially cover a period of three years.

“Childhood overweight and obesity can contribute to ill health, stigmatisation and even reduced educational attainment,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “With partners like Novo Nordisk, we want to ensure that preventing childhood obesity and overweight becomes a broader societal responsibility, involving governments, civil society, the private sector, communities and families.”

Childhood overweight and obesity are on the rise almost everywhere

Recent figures from UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report 2019 show that childhood overweight and obesity are on the rise almost everywhere. Today, there are 40 million children under the age of five who are overweight. The number of children 5–19 years old who are overweight has nearly doubled in the past 15 years.

“There is no doubt that childhood overweight and obesity is a public health crisis that requires immediate attention. Childhood overweight and obesity is more than an individual choice, this is everybody’s business. Together with UNICEF, we hope to help millions of children lead healthy lives and at the same time ease the burden of obesity to society,” says Novo Nordisk President and CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen.

The high burden of childhood overweight and obesity presents serious health, societal and economic consequences for the individual, families, their communities and healthcare systems, both immediately and in the longer term.

Enhance knowledge, build awareness and strengthen interventions

The partnership aims to enhance knowledge among decision-makers on successful policies to prevent childhood overweight and obesity in middle-income countries, build awareness of the impact of overweight and obesity on children and their rights and advocate for the need to make systemic changes to address this growing epidemic, and drive and strengthen multi-sector interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean with specific focus on Mexico and Colombia.

Photo of Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, CEO, Novo Nordisk