16 February 2024 News

Eurocare Advocates for Evidence-Based Policies on Unhealthy Food and Drinks at European Parliament event

The Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe launched its 2024-2029 Manifesto at the European Parliament in Brussels on 13 February 2024, ahead of the EU elections. Eurocare’s Secretary General, Florence Berteletti, participated in the event providing some key recommendations to EU policy makers (see video below).

The need for significant investments in preventing NCDs, which account for over 70% of all deaths and disability in the EU, was underscored. Primordial prevention, which would entail regulating the supply and demand of unhealthy products, still needs further funding, which currently standing at only around 3% of total health spending in the EU. In particular, there is an urgent need for comprehensive policies to combat the detrimental impact of alcohol, as well as other unhealthy food and drinks, on public health in Europe. Alcohol claims the lives of 1 million people annually in the European Region, with two individuals dying every minute due to its impact. Notably, this includes individuals below the age of 20.

However, it is crucial that the alcohol industry is not involved in the policy-making process. There is evidence indicating that the industry's practices contributes to worsen public health, including oral health problems and other NCDs. They have also introduced terms such as "harmful use", which serve as tool to shift blame away from their products and into the individual.

The Secretary General proposed the introduction of a Dry Month campaign within the European Parliament and all EU institutions. Research indicates that over 70% of participants continue to make healthier choices six months post-challenge, acquiring essential skills to make informed decisions about alcohol consumption.

Eurocare, in alignment with the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe, called upon EU policymakers to endorse the Manifesto. There is a need for a paradigm shift and to advocate for evidence-based policies in addressing health issues related to unhealthy food and drinks. Eurocare stands ready to provide support to policy makers throughout the implementation phase.