The World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe (WHO/EU) reportedly warned attendees of a February 25-26, 2014, health conference held by the European Commission and the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union that “being overweight is so common that it risks becoming a new norm.” According to a February 25, 2014, press release, WHO/ EU reported that 27 percent of 13-year-olds and 33 percent of 11-year-olds  are now overweight, while 30 percent of boys and girls ages 15 and older “are not getting enough physical activity” in 23 of the 36 countries profiled by the organization.

Although it noted the role of physical inactivity in rising obesity rates, WHO/ EU ultimately urged national governments to consider implementing stricter labeling and food product regulations that would require “the food industry to take responsibility.”

“We must not let another generation grow up with obesity as the new norm,” said WHO/eu Director Zsuzsanna Jakab. “Physical inactivity—coupled with a culture that promotes cheap, convenient foods high in fats, salt and sugars— is deadly.” See GR2014 EU Press Release, February 24, 2014.