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Obelisk Partners

The Obelisk project includes 15 partners from universities, research institutions and small and medium-sized enterprises from across nine European countries.

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Obelisk Project

We believe the most effective way to prevent a high prevalence of obesity throughout the life course is to avoid its development in children and promote healthy weight maintenance during adolescence and young adulthood.


The main concept behind Obelisk, is dedicated to understanding, predicting, and preventing obesity in children and providing precision medicine for those affected.

The 4P’s approach of Obelisk involves active participation from all stakeholders including families, scientific and medical communities, daycare centres, schools, policymakers, and industry, to drive social innovation and achieve successful outcomes.

Obelisk 4P's Approach


Our ambitious research programme will be implemented over five years by a consortium of 15 partners across Europe. The programme is based on the 4P approach. It aims to develop evidence-based clinical guidelines, best practices, and preventive strategies to combat overweight and obesity and their associated health conditions at all stages of life.

With the help of predictive tools and targeted prevention strategies developed by Obelisk, patients and clinicians can work together to make informed decisions on the most suitable interventions for controlling the progression of obesity in children. This empowers patients to take control of their health and well-being.

By following the Obelisk evidence-based guidelines, policymakers, national and local authorities, nurseries, schools, and sports centres can create more efficient prevention campaigns to combat childhood overweight and obesity.

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  • Increase the implementation of successful preventive and treatment programs in clinics and communities.
  • Decrease the rates of childhood obesity across the EU.
  • Increase the percentage of children and adolescents with obesity who successfully receive treatment and recover from obesity before adulthood.
  • Throughout their lives, children and adolescents with obesity experience improved health and a higher quality of life.
  • Families of children at risk for obesity or who already have obesity can benefit from reduced economic burden through preventative measures and treatment options.
  • The evaluation of semaglutide in real-life scenarios may lead to the development of promising new medications, including dual GIP/GLP1 receptor agonists, for common types of early-onset obesity accompanied by appetite dysregulation.

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Chilhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity

The rise in childhood obesity is a mounting worry in Europe that demands our attention. This trend is concerning because obesity in childhood often leads to health issues in later life. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that Europe has a high prevalence of childhood obesity: Today approximately one in three school-aged children and one in four adolescents are with overweight or obesity.

Living with overweight or obesity in Europe

  • 1 in 3 school-aged children

  • 1 in 4 adolescents

WHO European Regional Obesity Report 2022.
Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2022. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

Causes of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity can be caused by various factors such as the consumption of sugary and fast foods, and high-calorie beverages that lack nutritional value. Sedentary lifestyles, often due to excessive screen time and reduced outdoor activities, are also major contributors to this problem. Additionally, low socioeconomic status can limit access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity. Inadequate urban planning that fails to prioritise safe outdoor spaces and a lack of supportive policies can also impede healthy lifestyles. Lastly, genetic predisposition can make some children more susceptible to obesity when exposed to an obesogenic environment.

Contributing Factors

There are several factors that contribute to the rising rates of childhood obesity in Europe, such as:
  • Decreased Physical Activity

  • Unhealthy Diet

  • Environmental Factors

  • Genetic Predisposition

  • Socioeconomic Factors

Health Problems in Later Life

Childhood obesity can cause various health problems that may persist into adulthood.
There are also social and economic impacts related to childhood obesity. The cost of treating obesity can be a burden on healthcare systems and economies due to increased medical expenses and decreased productivity.
  • Type 2 Diabetes

    Children with obesity have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
  • Cardiovascular Diseases

    Childhood obesity increases the likelihood of developing heart diseases, hypertension, and other cardiovascular conditions.
  • Steatosis and Steatohepatitis

    Childhood obesity is associated with the accumulation of fat in the liver, leading to chronic liver inflammation.
  • Breathing Disorders

    Obesity in childhood increases the risk of developing obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, which can cause chronic fatigue, hypertension, and poor academic or work performance.
  • Decreased Fertility

    Childhood obesity is associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and decreased sperm quality, leading to reduced fertility.
  • Joint Issues

    Excess weight can put pressure on joints, leading to musculoskeletal issues.
  • Mental Health

    Children with obesity may experience low self-esteem, depression, eating disorders and anxiety due to societal stigma and body image issues.

How will Obelisk's research make a difference?

Childhood obesity is a pressing issue that requires collective action to mitigate its impact on the health and well-being of our children and future generations. By understanding its prevalence, causes, and problems in later life, we can work together to create healthier environments and brighter futures for our children. Join us in raising awareness and taking steps toward a healthier Europe!

Obelisk aims to address the scientific challenges that have hindered progress in childhood obesity research. These include the lack of a comprehensive understanding of the biological pathways involved in the development of obesity, the need to consider socio-economic and lifestyle factors, and the scarcity of pre-obesity biomarkers to predict and monitor the effectiveness of interventions. In addition, there is a need for better clinical research and knowledge of lifestyle habits, environmental exposures, and susceptibility to co-morbidities. Obelisk will bring innovative solutions to this significant health problem in the EU, which could prevent the development of severe forms of obesity and related diseases. Importantly, the project has access to the most extensive EU cohorts of young patients with obesity to support our research.

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Obelisk Project


Preventing childhood obesity to stay healthy throughout life

Obelisk is a five-year research project, and our ambition is to prevent childhood obesity and contribute to enhancing the health, quality of life, and life span of people of all ages living in Europe.
Treating adults with obesity and overweight is known to be difficult, and it's proven that both prevention and treatment work better in younger age groups. Obelisk has an ambitious research programme to prevent childhood obesity and "cut the roots" of the pandemic.

About the Project

Our Partners

This ambitious project includes 15 partners from universities, research institutions and small and medium-sized enterprises from across nine European countries. The consortium has received funding from the EU’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme and from UK and Swiss research funding bodies.

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Our Aims

Obelisk aims to advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms contributing to or preventing childhood obesity. It seeks to develop tools for early prediction and prevention, identify new genes associated with childhood obesity, and explore targeted approaches for prevention. The project will also conduct a clinical study on an existing drug to reverse obesity in individuals with a genetic predisposition. Obelisk will disseminate best practices, educate others on preventing and treating childhood obesity, and collaborate with other initiatives to optimise knowledge and joint activities.

The project is built on a participatory approach, with engagement from families and carers, daycare providers and schools, local authorities, the healthcare industry, policymakers, and the scientific and academic communities.

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