The EC to target football fans with Euro 2008 anti-obesity campaign

FootballThe European Commission (EC) is launching an anti-obesity drive targeting football fans ahead of next year’s UEFA European Championship.

The EC has been offered 30-second half-time advertising slots during qualifying games and the tournament itself, which takes place in Austria and Switzerland next summer. It has appointed Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO to create the ads after initially approaching five agencies to present ideas. It is understood that the first work breaks in Monaco next week.

The campaign is thought to be the first anti-obesity activity from the EC itself. The commission is looking to promote a healthy lifestyle and will encourage football fans to exercise, rather than just sitting and watching the matches.

News of the campaign comes after the EC published figures at the end of last year showing that three-quarters of the European nations it surveyed weighed more than the recommended levels.

An EC league table, based on average body-mass index (BMI), showed that Britons are fatter than their Italian, Spanish and French neighbours.

According to World Health Organisation guidelines, anyone with a BMI of between 18.5 and 25 is a healthy weight. The slimmest nation, according to the survey, was Italy, where the average index is 24.3. The UK’s average index is 25.4, putting it in the overweight category.

The EC announced in May this year that it was considering tightening food advertising and nutrition labelling rules if companies failed to improve consumer awareness about unhealthy foods.

It said it wanted to “encourage” food companies to provide consumers with full information about the health risks associated with their products.

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