Brussels, 8 November 2007
Today, EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou launched the "European Day of Healthy Food and Cooking", which aims to encourage healthy eating amongst children, with a view to tackling the rising childhood obesity levels in Europe. Across 14 Member States, EU officials, top chefs and school children are coming together for demonstrations on how to cook healthy, tasty food and workshops to promote a balanced lifestyle. Commissioner Kyprianou attended interactive cooking lessons at a European school in Brussels this morning, where 4 professional chefs explained the benefits of eating well to 60 children. EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boel also visited a school in Copenhagen with a leading Danish chef. With around 22 million overweight or obese children in the EU today, the aim is to instil an interest in children in the food that they eat and to make them aware of the basic principles of good nutrition. The European Healthy Food and Cooking Day was co-organised by the European Commission and the European Chefs' Association (Euro-toques).
Commissioner Kyprianou said "Good habits practised from an early age are more likely to continue into adulthood. Through this partnership with Euro-Toques, the Commission aims to promote the importance of healthy eating to children in a fun and interactive way. Encouraging children to enjoy healthy eating and physical exercise is the best investment that we can make for their future."
Childhood obesity is an extremely worrying problem, with the number of overweight or obese children growing at the rate of 400 000 a year in Europe. Obese children not only suffer from health problems such as diabetes and liver disorders when they are young, but are also likely to be at high risk of heart disease, cancer, hypertension, stroke and depression as they get older.
The European Day of Healthy Food and Cooking is part of the Commission's
broader campaign to tackle obesity by encouraging EU citizens to choose a
balanced diet and exercise more. Many lifestyle patterns originate in childhood.
Therefore, children who are taught the importance of healthy eating and learn
how to make good nutritional choices are more likely to lead balanced lifestyles
as adults. Today, events and workshops in several EU Member States will
introduce hundreds of children to the concept of healthy eating in an engaging
and enjoyable way. Euro-toques chefs will cook up nutritious meals with the
children, demonstrating that healthy food can be fun, while Commission officials
will talk to the children about the importance of a balanced diet and physical
activity. Press conferences will also take place in some of the Member States
http://eu.mini-chefs.eu. This website
for children demonstrates that eating healthily can be fun. Ialso provides a
European forum for healthy food and cooking with first class healthy recipes and
cooking advice. The website is available in 12 languages and includes an
interactive cooking game so that children can learn by playing.
 Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden and Romania.