barn som ritar Grand Challenge

Vision: Ending childhood obesity at school start by 2030

The project is finished. However, most project pages will remain during Swelife’s program time as a reference. Contact Swelife’s program office for any questions.

Ending Childhood Obesity ECHO is a national initiative aiming to prevent overweight and obesity in preschool children aged 0-6 in Sweden, thereby contributing to the reduction of mental illness, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

Together with individuals, public healthcare, academia and industry, the project will work towards its vision of zero childhood obesity at school start by 2030. This will be achieved through the broad support of the 24 formal project partners and a network of stakeholders. All five project packages will run throughout Sweden, and the solutions will be scalable on a national level.

Ending Childhood Obesity establishes the first ever national mission-oriented action that focuses on preventive health measures and system transformation from a Health-Risk-Disease perspective.

The national system (NPO) for Child and Youth Health within regional knowledge-driven governance plays a key role in the implementation of the knowledge generated by the project.

Further reading: Healthy-Risk-Sick

Who will benefit from the project?

Individuals – all citizens. Children under 6 years of age, and their families, should be given the best possible conditions for a healthy life, and be able to maintain a healthy weight to prevent future illness.

Public Healthcare. National guidelines, initiatives, and common indicators for the prevention of overweight and obesity will offer equal conditions for all children regardless of where they live. This will free up resources for diseases that are not preventable.

Academia. More research in the field focuses on maintaining health in addition to the treatment of overweight and obesity.

Industry, the Public Sector, and NGOs. The project works to develop new types of incentives, reimbursement- and business models that make it beneficial and profitable to conduct activities within the Health sector from the Health-Risk-Sick-perspective. Currently, most of these incentives, reimbursement- and business models are designed for the Sick-sector.

The mission-oriented working method contributes to making the Swedish life-science industry more competitive, more attractive, and more sustainable. It opens up opportunities for more stakeholders besides publicly funded healthcare to contribute to solutions.

Investment in system transformation creates conditions for further innovation.

Read more about the mission-oriented working method here.

What will the project achieve?

  • Bring about a system transformation, and increase investment and economic activity in preventive initiatives.
  • Enable the management of Health-Risk-Sick data between regions and different stakeholders in Sweden.
  • A substantial reduction in the proportion under 6 years old in Sweden who is overweight or obese.
  • Implement incentives, reimbursement- and business models that promote preventive measures against childhood

Work packages

The project is divided into five work packages:

National coordination (NC)

This work package work with strategic focus, coordination, and management of the national project to ensure collaboration. Responsible for communication, finance, and international collaboration.

Contact: Peter Bergsten


The implementation subproject aims to build a relationship with municipalities and regions to initiate a dialogue on a broad society-based approach. We want to make people aware of the process of how to get started with the work and provide support if desired.

Health economists work with models for multi-interventions with a common outcome measure in the form of a “quality of life dimension” and the development of a cost-benefit study for childhood obesity.

In dialogue with representatives from the food industry, retail, and the National Food Administration, an attempt is made to find a new project to evaluate sustainable business models for healthy food.

A small group reviews the forms of parental support that can be used to support families to good living habits in line with the National Board of Health and Welfare’s national guidelines for the prevention and treatment of unhealthy living habits.

Data management

The purpose of data management is to move society towards preventive measures in a data-driven way. The first prototype of a database infrastructure is built for open comparisons where the entire system merges and health data links actors to thereby store, analyze and visualize data based on data security, legal and legal parameters to involved municipalities and regions.

Former subprojects

Best Practice (BP)

 This work package maps and develops existing successful, evidence-based initiatives to work with children living with obesity and overweight. We aim to develop a shared view of what should be implemented to prevent childhood obesity in Sweden.

Contact: Peter Bergsten

Grand Challenge (GC) 

A national competition will be held in 2021 for ideas aiming to generate system-changing solutions that move us towards the vision of Zero Childhood Obesity at school start by 2030.

Contact: Ander Hjalmarsson Jordanius

More about Grand Challenge.

Measurements, Follow-up and Data processing (MFD)

 This work package produces terminology and data analysis for prevention efforts against childhood obesity. This approach will facilitate digital working methods.

Contact: Jovanna Dahlgren

Incentives, Reimbursement, and Business models (IRB)

How can preventive healthcare become a financially sustainable business?

Contact: Maria Bjerstam

About childhood obesity

The proportion of children who are overweight or obese has increased dramatically in recent decades. Globally, the proportion of children and adolescents who are overweight or obese has increased from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016. If the development continues to follow the same pattern, by 2022 more children and adolescents will be overweight than underweight. Overweight and obesity that is established at a young age tend to persist into adulthood. As many as 60 percent of children who are obese before puberty will continue to be obese into their late teens.

Around 11 percent of children aged 4 in Sweden were overweight or obese in 2018. Of four-year-olds, around 9 percent were overweight and 2 percent were obese. Living with overweight and obesity was more common in girls (13 percent) than in boys (10 percent) and there were regional variations.

Obesity is a disease that causes both personal suffering and socio-economic losses. Almost 4 percent of all deaths in Sweden in 2016 can be attributed to obesity-related illness. Obesity cost Swedish society SEK 25.2 billion in 2016, while overweight cost SEK 23.4 billion.

More reading

Project facts

Project number


Support from Swelife

SEK 4.7 million in the first year. During the same period, co-financing will also be provided by the project partners.


To reduce overweight and obesity among children aged 0-6 in 2030 by Sweden. Results will be measured according to region and municipality.

Project partners

Formal partners

Generation Pep
Innovation Skåne
Innovation Skåne
Lund University – LU Innovation
National Board of Health and Welfare – Division for Knowledge Governance for Public Healthcare
National Board of Health and Welfare – Department for Knowledge Governance for Social Services
Novo Nordisk
Pediatric Healthcare Unit in Stockholm County
Region Skåne – Knowledge Centre for Pediatric Healthcare
Region Skåne – Regional Development
Region Stockholm SLSO – Center for Obesity
Region Västerbotten – Pediatric Healthcare
Region Östergötland – Department of Public Health and Statistics
RISE – Measurements
RISE – Measurements
RISE – Mobility and Systems
SAS Institute
Stockholm University – Department of Computer and Systems Science
Swedish Food Agency
The Swedish Food Federation
Västra Götaland Region – Pediatric Medicine
Uppsala University – Department of Medical Cell Biology

In addition to the formal partners, 40 additional stakeholders are participating in the project.


From 2020 to 2030.


National Coordinator

Peter Bergsten
+46 70 870 22 10

Assistant National Coordinator

Avesta Starkholm
+46 70 272 13 56

Project Manager

Nils-Olof Jönsson
+46 72 579 87 00