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Public Health

Health-EU newsletter 251 - Focus

Why is this year’s Award focusing on vaccination and healthy lifestyles?

John F. Ryan, Director of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Public Health, Country Knowledge and Crisis Management, takes a moment away from his work in crisis management and preparedness to announce the call for initiatives for the 2020 EU Health Award. The 2020 EU Health Award will have two themes, promoting vaccination in children and promoting healthy lifestyle among children. The deadline for submitting initiatives for the Award is 29 April 2020, 11 a.m. CET.

Why is this year’s Award focusing on vaccination and healthy lifestyles?

According to the World Health Organization, vaccination prevents an estimated 2-3 million deaths every year and reduces disease-specific treatment costs, including antimicrobial treatments. More than 100 million children worldwide are vaccinated annually against diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, tuberculosis, polio, measles, and hepatitis B. Many people have forgotten that children routinely died of diseases like this in the past. Vaccines can also protect against infection by, for instance, the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cancer.

And yet, despite this, several EU and neighbouring countries are currently facing unprecedented outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases because people are failing to get vaccinated. The European Commission and EU Member States are therefore working together to fight disinformation, build confidence in vaccines and ensure equitable access to vaccines for all EU citizens.

As for the call on Healthy Lifestyles, promoting a healthy diet and adequate physical activity is vital to reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases. It’s empowering to know that many of these diseases are largely preventable and it’s important to instil healthy habits at an early age. Not only so that these habits are deeply ingrained, but because children with healthy lifestyle habits have a lower risk of developing health problems later in life.

Focusing on this topic supports the achievements and ongoing work of the EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity, the Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle, the EU School fruit, vegetables and milk scheme, and the EU project on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in health and educational settings, among other EU actions.

How does the EU Health Award fit in with the Commission’s objectives?

As well as thanking cities, schools, kindergartens and NGOs for their committment to public health, the EU Health Award raises awareness of the vital role they play in strengthening participative democracy and active citizenship.

Through this Award, the EU Health Policy Platform is also able to collect good practices from these cities, NGOs, schools and kindergartens and share them with others, for inspiration or duplication.

The Award is funded under the 3rd Health Programme, which aims to support the identification, dissemination and implementation of good practices that improve health and quality of life in a cost-efficient manner.

Who can submit initiatives?

The Award for promoting healthy lifestyles among children ages 6 to 18 is open to all cities and schools that positively impact their communities and the Award for promoting vaccination in children from birth to age 18 is open to NGOs, schools and kindergartens. Both large and small initiatives are considered for this Award – last year, when the topic was obesity in children, the City of Amsterdam won in the city category for its ‘Amsterdam Healthy Weight Programme’, while El Instituto de Enseñanza Secundaria Guadalquivir, from one of the most deprived areas in Spain, won in the school category for its initiative ‘Be Active @IES Guadalquivir’.

Activities at EU level

2020 EU Health Award

European Commission – Health and Food Safety

EU Health Policy Platform

European Commission – Health and Food Safety


European Commission – Health and Food Safety

Nutrition and Physical Activity

European Commission – Health and Food Safety


2020 EU Health Award to help promote vaccination and healthy lifestyles

Interested parties are invited to check the criteria and present details of their initiative by 29 April 2020 at 11.00 in the morning, CET, Brussels time.

Join the EU Health Policy Platform!

The Platform is an interactive tool to boost discussions about public health concerns and to share knowledge and good practices. Register and get involved to share expertise, contribute to joint statements and promote your work to a wide audience.