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Novo Nordisk and UNICEF announce new partnership to help prevent childhood overweight and obesity

Gatwick, UK, 20 November 2019 – Novo Nordisk and UNICEF announced a new partnership today to help prevent childhood overweight and obesity worldwide with an initial focus on interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Under this partnership, the United Nations children’s agency and the global healthcare company will combine efforts to enhance knowledge and awareness on how to prevent overweight and obesity and address their root causes. The partnership will initially cover a period of three years.

“Childhood overweight and obesity can contribute to ill health, stigmatisation and even reduced educational attainment,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. With partners like Novo Nordisk, we want to ensure that preventing childhood obesity and overweight becomes a broader societal responsibility, involving governments, civil society, the private sector, communities and families.”

Recent figures from UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report 2019 show that childhood overweight and obesity are on the rise almost everywhere. Today, there are 40 million children under the age of five who are overweight. The number of children 5–19 years old who are overweight has nearly doubled in the past 15 years.

“There is no doubt that childhood overweight and obesity is a public health crisis that requires immediate attention. Childhood overweight and obesity is more than an individual choice, this is everybody’s business. Together with UNICEF, we hope to help millions of children lead healthy lives and at the same time ease the burden of obesity to society,” says Novo Nordisk President and CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen.

The high burden of childhood overweight and obesity presents serious health, societal and economic consequences for the individual, families, their communities and healthcare systems, both immediately and in the longer term. 

The partnership – announced on World Children’s Day, the 30th anniversary of the Child Rights Convention – aims to:

  • Enhance knowledge among decision-makers on successful policies to prevent childhood overweight and obesity in middle-income countries
  • Build awareness of the impact of overweight and obesity on children and their rights and advocate for the need to make systemic changes to address this growing epidemic
  • Drive and strengthen multi-sector interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean with specific focus on Mexico and Colombia.


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. UNICEF does not endorse any company, product, brand or service.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 95 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people with obesity, haemophilia, growth disorders and other serious chronic diseases. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 41,600 people in 80 countries and markets its products in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit