Upstream Determinants of Overweight and Obesity in Europe

Type Article

Journal Article


Vandevijvere S, De Pauw R, Djojosoeparto S, Gorasso V, Guariguata L, Løvhaug AL, Mialon M, Van Dam I, von Philipsborn P.

Year of publication



Curr Obes Rep





Purpose of review: To review the upstream determinants of overweight and obesity in Europe, including food and built environments, and political, commercial, and socioeconomic determinants. Recent findings: Overweight and obesity affect 60% of European adults, and one in three children, and are more common in individuals with low compared to high socioeconomic position (SEP). Individuals in low SEP groups are more exposed to unhealthy built and food environments, including higher exposure to unhealthy food marketing. Industries influencing the food system have much economic power, resulting in ignoring or silencing the role of ultra-processed foods and commercial practices in weight gain. Overall, effective policies to address overweight and obesity have been insufficiently implemented by governments. To accelerate implementation, strengthened political commitment is essential. Policies must also focus on the upstream, structural, and systemic drivers of overweight and obesity; be comprehensive; and target socioeconomic inequalities in diets and physical activity.