The Forum has reminded the EU of its obligation to gender mainstreaming. The reminder comes in the EMHF's official response to the EU Commission’s green paper on the prevention of overweight, obesity and chronic diseases.
‘The Programme should recognise the importance of gender sensitivity in the communication of these issues to all stakeholders and the general public,’ says the EMHF document Tackling overweight and obesity in men in Europe. ‘The particular involvement of health professionals and of the media is key to triggering a progressive change of perceptions in the general public that being overweight is not a healthy option for men either.’
The response argues that specific groups of men should be given a particular attention: notably, boys and men aged 25-35. Statistically, men in the 25-35 age group are at most risk of becoming overweight while schools are identified as a particularly favourable environment where boys are most likely to respond positively to health promotion messages, and adopt positive nutritional habits in later life.
Gender mainstreaming should be a key element to the approach, the response goes on. Although overweight and obesity among adults in the EU is higher in men, obesity is still often considered a female issue.
The EMHF strongly recommends that gender mainstreaming, which is already an obligation under EU treaty provisions [Articles 2 and 3(2) EC] be implemented for all actions undertaken by the future EU strategy on physical activity and nutrition.