PREVENT – Improving and upscaling primary prevention of cancer by addressing childhood obesity

Programme: Horizon Programme
Project Status: ONGOING (July 2023 – June 2027)

What aims and scope

PREVENT aims to identify and overcome barriers in implementing effective strategies against childhood obesity as well as to improve the upscaling of primary interventions for weight control management in childhood and adolescence, with the ultimate goal of reducing cancer risks in adulthood. The project will address upscaling challenges by researching barriers to current interventions and policies. It will introduce context-aware interventions and user engagement strategies to overcome bottlenecks and expand to diverse settings.

How it will become possible 

The project will create inter-disciplinary Communities of Practice (CoP) composed of various stakeholders (i.e. physicians, oncologists, obesity associations, guardians, scholar units, educators, nutritionists, policy-makers, ministries, healthcare institution decision-makers in various care settings, etc.) for supervising the design, adaptation, implementation and assessment of the proposed interventions. Initially, current intervention policies and weight control strategies, especially in childhood and adolescence, will be examined.

Three Living Labs will engage 6,000 members, facilitating the co-design of successful interventions. Over 10,000 schools and 3.3 million students (ages 9-16) will be targeted through outreach efforts. The project aims to establish a framework for continuous assessment and validation of new policies, optimising evidence-based strategies for scaling up and widespread adoption. By doing so, PREVENT seeks to minimise cancer risk and promote healthier lifestyles among children and adolescents.

PREVENT will employ a comprehensive methodology to accelerate scaling-up of weight control interventions. It will identify barriers, survey successful practices, and develop legislative proposals, considering constitutional, legal, and privacy constraints, to address scaling-up challenges.

Where EHMA delivers 

EHMA will design the framework for the PREVENT scaling-up model to extract specific implementation research pathways based on which the scaling-up outreach actions will be designed to maximise their impact and efficiency. EHMA will also evaluate the implementation of PREVENT results and innovation packages not only within the pilot cases but also in other European countries and regions. EHMA will explore the uptake of the PREVENT tool and methodology by healthcare institutions.

In addition to that, EHMA will develop a comprehensive plan on how the project will create health and societal impact; ensure wide outreach to multi-stakeholder communities with tailored messages; and develop a strategy on how the project results will be exploited beyond the project lifecycle.


Read the press release for the project launch.



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 HaDEA. Neither the European Union nor HaDEA can be held responsible for them.


Overweight and obesity are linked to many types of cancer such as oesophagus, colorectal, breast, endometrial and kidney. Between 30–50% of all cancer cases can be prevented through proactive measures. By emphasising prevention, we can establish a cost-effective long-term strategy to effectively combat cancer. However, it is unfortunate that cancer prevention often goes unnoticed within health systems, despite its immense potential to save costs, empower patients and enhance overall health outcomes, which are of paramount importance for health management at system level.

To effectively target childhood obesity, a multi-level and top-down approach is required, where health managers contribute by improving health literacy among the general population. Investing in obesity preventive policies and interventions at school and community levels generates long-term cost savings and better resource allocation in health systems. By investing in prevention and health promotion, health systems can achieve a more sustainable and effective management model, where financial savings from prevention can be reinvested into expanding services, improving access, and further enhancing the overall quality of care. These initiatives not only alleviate the economic burden but also promote health equity and social well-being.


What our Members say

I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.

Prof. Federico Lega, University of Milan, Italy

Health management has a crucial function in shaping public health and health system challenges. The Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria had success in collaborating with EHMA on EU-funded projects that has resourced us to create new health management competencies for the future workforce. In addition to all classical definitions, health management is a science dealing with individuals, groups, and society at large. It is an art contributing to the beauty of our lives and an interactive communication process at all levels of institutions and human energy. I have also had the pleasure to chair the South Eastern European Special Interest Group which gives members a space to discuss and tools to address how health systems are managed in our regions.

Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria

I enjoy the high level of interaction and engagement in EHMA’s activities, in particular during the annual conference where the panel discussions are rich and well prepared. As a hospital manager and professor of health management, EHMA motivates and inspires me to be creative. You go back home feeling energised from seeing old friends and making new connections, as well as being convinced of serving as EHMA’s ambassador. It’s a strong feeling of interdisciplinary engagement, but it also feels like being part of family-like community.

Prof. Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta

EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.

Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK

Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.

Dr Eszter Kovács, Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University, Hungary

As a hospital administrator and health management professor, I see on a daily basis that the healthcare challenges require talented and skilled managers to transform it. the EHMA membership has been beneficial to bring healthcare management research and education to the demanding healthcare services world, promoting healthcare management competencies and knowledge creation.

Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal

Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.

Prof. Ann Mahon, University of Manchester, UK

Society evolution, pandemics and ageing modify health needs. So, health policies and services are to change dramatically. EHMA, through webinars, workshops and annual conference provides an excellent insight to a professional changing world, favouring closeness to management innovation and the protagonists of these changes. As a primary care services’ manager, participating in EHMA activities is really worth it and allows to involve oneself in the innovation processes.

Dr Antoni Peris Grao, Consorci Castelldefels Agents de Salut (CASAP), Spain