National Plans on Obesity – From Policy to Practice

6 May 2022 | 13:30 – 15:00 CEST


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Following the categorisation of obesity as a chronic disease by the European Commission in 2021, the MEP Interest Group on Obesity and Health System Resilience organised a hybrid Study Trip in Belgium, France, Denmark, Italy and Spain in February 2022. The main objective was to investigate what key components should be included in an EU level Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Framework for Obesity as a Chronic Disease.

More than 100 key stakeholders took part in the process that formed the basis of the Joint Declaration between the MEP interest group, National Policy Makers and Stakeholders. The declaration was launched at a virtual European Parliament event, on World Obesity Day Europe.

A Joint Declaration Towards Applying an NCD Framework for Obesity National Plans Across Europe – Member of the European parliament Interest Group (

As a follow-up, the MEP Interest group is organising a discussion at the European Conference on Obesity in Maastricht to discuss the development and implementation of national obesity plans with a focus on how these national plans will fit into the wider European and international context.


Welcome and Opening Remarks
Setting the context: State of Play for Obesity National Plans Across the Region
Fishbowl Discussion: National Plans on Obesity – From Policy to Practice

Chaired By

Pernille Weiss

Pernille Weiss MEP (EPP-DK)
Chair of MEP Interest Group on Obesity & Health System Resilience

MEP Pernille Weiss, is a politician from the Conservative People’s Party of Denmark and a member of the European People’s Party, (EPP). Ms. Weiss holds a seat in the Industry, Research & Energy Committee (ITRE) and is a substitute in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) as well as in the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM).

She is also the chief executive officer (CEO) of a healthcare and architectural consultancy and serves as a board member to the business association of the European People’s Party (SME Europe) since 2019. She is an acknowledged Nordic expert in architecture and health and is passionate about the impact of the built environment on complex institutions.

Ms Weiss is a qualified nurse who later went on to specialise in forensic nursing. She holds two masters degrees; one in Health from the University of South Denmark and one in Leadership and Innovation from Copenhagen Business School.


Jacqueline Bowman

Jacqueline Bowman
EU Policy Lead at European Association for the Study of Obesity

Ms Jacqueline Bowman-Busato is EU Policy Lead at EASO (European Association for the Study of Obesity) in Brussels. She has worked in the Brussels environment since 1996 towards transforming health ecosystems from policy to reality. A pioneer of multi-stakeholder coalition building for societal impact, Jacqueline has previously worked for an MEP, ran the expert secretariat of a European Parliamentarian Interest Group, headed up the Brussels office of a global NGO, transformed a patient-led platform into an equally-weighted multi-stakeholder think tank for patients, science and industry.

She strongly believes in empowering all actors to be effective and engaged in optimising health ecosystems for health outcomes relevant to all actors across sectors through evidence-based policies.

She lives with two major complex chronic diseases of autoimmune hashimotos and obesity: both of which affect physical and mental health and wellbeing. Jacqueline holds degrees in English Law, French Law, Strategic Communications and an MBA. She’s a Guyanese born dual British-Belgian national, speaks fluent French and has a very good passive understanding of Dutch.


Dr Julianne Williams (EU)
World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, NCD Office

Julianne Williams is a technical officer for noncommunicable diseases at the WHO European Office for Prevention and Control of NCDs (“WHO NCD Office”). She joined WHO in 2017. She has a DPhil from the University of Oxford from the Nuffield Department of Population Health and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington. Currently she coordinates the work of the “NCD Office” related to obesity and breastfeeding promotion for the WHO European Region. In her free time, she stays busy chasing after her two boys.

MEP Toine Manders

MEP Toine Manders (EPP-NL)

MEP Toine Manders is a Dutch politician and a lawyer. He is also a member of the European Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)

He is also a member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. He is a substitute on the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs and has contributed to ‘a new EU strategic framework on health and safety at work post 2020’.

He has been a member of the European Parliament since 1999.

Alina Constantin

Alina Constantin (FR)
Ligue Contre L’Obesité

Alina is a person living with obesity and patient advocate engaged in patient-to-patient peer support. President of a local patient organization since 2017, member of the patients’ council at the Ligue contre l’obésité (League Against Obesity) since 2020.

As an International Patient Advocate, her mission is to develop international relations for the Ligue contre l’obésité. In this regard, she became a member of ECPO (European Coalition for People living with Obesity) since February 2022.

In addition, she represents French patient organizations and promoting patient centered healthcare at the Haute Autorité de Santé (High Authority for Health) for the adult obesity guidelines (in the making).

She is a Spokesperson in the media and at events for people living with obesity, advocating for more education and against medical and social weight bias.

Liesbeth Van Rossum

Prof Liesbeth van Rossum (NL)
Professor of Medicine (PhD), Erasmus University, Netherlands

Prof Van Rossum is an internist-endocrinologist at the Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam. She is the co-founder of Obesity Center CGG, and has an internationally leading position in the field of obesity and biological stress research.

Prof Van Rossum is a frequently invited speaker to international conferences, including a TEDx talk ‘solutions for the obesity epidemic’ in 2017. She received over 20 international awards for her scientific research.

Dr Grace O'Malley

Dr Grace O’Malley (IR)
ASOI and EASO Executive Committee Member

Dr. Grace O’Malley Ph.D, M.Sc, B.Sc is a paediatric physiotherapist and clinical researcher specialised in childhood obesity and exercise science. She is based at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland where she leads a research team exploring the co-morbidities related to obesity and investigating the development and implementation of complex interventions including eHealth interventions.
She leads the W82GO Child and Adolescent Weight Management Service delivering assessment and treatment for childhood obesity at Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street and is committed to ensuring children and adolescents with obesity have equal access to evidence-based care.

Dr. O’Malley was the Inaugural Chair of the Association for the Study of Obesity on the Island of Ireland and participates in developing national programmes and strategies related to childhood obesity in Ireland. She is a member of the EASO Childhood Obesity Task Force and is committed to the provision of evidence-based high quality education for health professionals.

As an exercise specialist, she is passionate about optimising fitness and function in all children regardless of their ability or health challenges. After work, she loves to cook, grow vegetables, cycle and play music

Dr Grace O'Malley

Karen Gaynor (IR)
Registered Dietitian & National Programme Manager for Obesity, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland

Karen is a registered dietitian with over 15 years’ experience working in obesity. She is a committee member of the Association for the Study of Obesity in Ireland, and a member of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute and the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers.

In 2020, as Programme Manager for the HSE National Clinical Programme for Obesity in Ireland, she coordinated the development of a National Model of Care for the Management of Overweight and Obesity. This sets out how care should be provided for children and adults living with overweight and obesity.

In her current role as Dietetic Lead, HSE Health and Wellbeing, she works with a wide range of stakeholders and provides clinical and strategic expertise to obesity prevention and management policies and clinical service design.