MEP Interest Group Represented on the new European Parliament Special Committee on COVID-19 (COVI)

21 April 2022

The MEP Interest Group on Obesity and Health System Resilience welcomes the formal establishment of the European Parliament Special Committee on COVID-19 which was constituted this week.

Both our Chair MEP Pernille Wiess (EPP-DK) and one of our Vice Chairs Sara Cerdas (S&D- PT) are members of the Special Committee.

With strong cross-group support, the MEP Interest Group considers the Special Committee an ideal opportunity to support the forgotten 59.3% of Europeans already living with pre-obesity and Obesity as well as the next generation.

COVID-19 has been particularly harsh on people living with obesity. Despite rightfully being categorised as medically vulnerable due to a pre-existing medical condition by the ECDC and European Commission in 2020, there has been little, if anything, done to actively uphold the rights of this vulnerable population at EU, national or territorial level.

Europeans living with severe obesity are 113% more likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19 and 48% more likely to die from COVID-19.  This is irrespective of other co-morbidities.  And yet, there is currently no coordinated infrastructure to address the unmet needs of people living with obesity; namely early diagnosis and screening, treatment and long-term management as with other major NCDs.

Informed by our Interest Group’s stakeholders and previous work such as the recent “A Joint Declaration Towards Applying an NCD Framework for Obesity National Plans Across Europe – Member of the European parliament Interest Group (” as well as joint event with the OPEN-EU Network European Health Data Space – A much needed opportunity for providing the foundation for addressing obesity as an NCD across the EU – Member of the European parliament Interest Group (, we encourage our colleagues at National as well as EU level to collaborate to make a much-needed difference.

Priorities for Members of the Interest Group within COVI include:

  1. Working towards obesity being addressed as a non-communicable disease in line with the European Commission’s 2020 Strategic Foresight Report.
  2. Calling for a Special Report on implementing obesity within the non-communicable disease framework – particularly via the next round of the Healthier Together Initiative of the European Commision, which should cover early diagnosis, treatment, long-term management as well as linkages to the more than 200 medical complications of obesity.
  3. Creating joined up thinking and action around all policies which can impact health outcomes for people living with obesity in the current and next generations.

View the message from our Chair, Pernille Weiss MEP (EPP-DK)

The MEP Interest Group on Obesity and Health System Resilience

The MEP Interest Group on Obesity and Health System Resilience focuses on finding policy solutions to remove barriers in the implementation of obesity as a chronic relapsing disease in Europe and contribute to building back resilient health systems building on the Strategic Foresight Process and the EU4Health agenda.

The Expert Secretariat is provided by European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) and the office of the Chair of the Interest Group, MEP Pernille Weiss



The European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO)

Established in 1986, EASO is a federation of professional membership associations from 36 countries, with a network of over 130 specialist Collaborating Centres for Obesity Management across the region. EASO’s mission is to reduce the burden of unhealthy weight, and it promotes action through collaboration in research, education and policy. EASO is in official relations with the WHO Regional Office for Europe, and represents scientists, health care practitioners, physicians, public health experts and patients.



Jacqueline Bowman-Busato

EASO Policy Lead

M: +32 468 222 386

E: [email protected]