Amsterdam’s approach to healthy weight mainstreams a major food systems challenge throughout the whole city government. Rather than considering childhood obesity a public health matter, it requires all departments to contribute through their policies, plans and day-to day working. To ensure efficacy, and to provide sound evidence to support continuing political commitment across electoral cycles, impacts are continuously monitored, and adjustments are made to the policy where necessary.

Food background with assortment of fresh organic vegetables

While it is still somewhat early to judge the success of the AAGG, the indications so far are promising. Outcomes monitoring has shown that overweight and obesity prevalence is levelling off, with a 10% decrease in prevalence in children of all age groups between 2012 (just before the programme began) and 2014. There was an even greater decrease — of 18% — among very low social economic groups. A causal relationship with the Amsterdam Healthy Weight Programme is not certain, however, and national data from the Dutch Bureau of Statistics indicate a levelling out of the percentage of children and adolescents (age 4-20 years) affected since 2012.

● The role of top-level political support is important. The Alderman van den Burg played a key role in instigating the Amsterdam Healthy Weight Programme and secured political commitment

● It is important to have a strategic and integrated ways of cross-departmental ways of working

● Listening to community has encouraged take-up of services by those who need it the most 

● The programme is part of a 30-year strategy and breaking it down into shorter periods that correspond with election cycles supports ongoing political commitment

Mayor and college of Alderpersons, Department of Social Development, Public Health Service, Department of Physical Planning, Sarphati Amsterdam, Schools, Academics, Board of Education, Department of Housing and Social Support, Department of Sports Work and Income.