Preventing childhood obesity to stay healthy throughout life.

Cutting the roots of the obesity pandemic

The rates of childhood obesity are increasing rapidly, which is a cause for concern. As per the WHO European Regional Obesity Report 2022, approximately one in three primary school-aged children in Europe is living with obesity or overweight. Unfortunately, this figure is expected to increase further. Children and teenagers with obesity and overweight are at a higher risk of developing severe health conditions in the future, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and disability, which can lead to premature death. Treating adults with obesity and overweight is a challenge, and it has been proven that prevention and treatment are more effective in younger age groups.


To address this issue, the Obelisk project – a new European initiative – is launching an ambitious research programme aimed at preventing childhood obesity by “cutting the roots” of this pandemic. The Obelisk project’s approach is founded on four principles, represented by the four-sided structure that we are all familiar with: Prediction, Prevention, Precision, and Participation.

Our research and impacts

The goal of Obelisk is to advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the onset of childhood obesity. This knowledge will be utilised to create new tools and treatments that can help prevent and reverse obesity in children. Our research teams will work to identify new genes associated with childhood obesity, providing the opportunity to develop new drug treatments. Additionally, we will be trialling targeted approaches to prevent childhood obesity, including the testing of new treatments for children who are predisposed to severe obesity due to genetic mutations. Throughout the project, our participatory approach will ensure that we engage with families, caregivers, daycare providers, schools, local authorities, the healthcare industry, policymakers, and the scientific and academic communities. We will also be offering educational programs to disseminate our findings.

European consortium

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 9.5 million Euro from the EU’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme and an additional 1.7 million Euro from UK and Swiss research funding bodies. The project is coordinated by the French research institute INSERM, led by the centre in Lille and the consortium met in early June to initiate the project and embark upon their five-year collaboration. 

We are thrilled to be a part of this diverse consortium aimed at tackling the challenges of childhood obesity and its negative effects on the health of future generations in Europe. By sharing our expertise and experience, we aim to contribute to the dissemination of the research findings and help maximize their impact.

Jayne Evans, Director

Obelisk started on 1st May 2023, and you can find out more on the project website and follow our progress on social media – LinkedIn and X.

Obelisk has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement 101080465.  

UK participant in Horizon Europe Project Obelisk is supported by UKRI grant number 10077650 (Beta Technology). 


This work is further supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education‚ Research and Innovation (SERI) under contract number 23.00160. 


Disclaimer: Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or other granting authorities. Neither the European Union nor the granting authorities can be held responsible for them.