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European RoyalsSpain

Queen Letizia travels to Croatia to fight childhood obesity

Queen Letizia has travelled to Zagreb, Croatia, to take part in the Congress on Prevention of Childhood Obesity, organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Government of Croatia. 

Her Majesty arrived in the capital Zagreb with an afternoon flight from Madrid. Upon landing, she was welcomed at the airport by Croatian President Zoran Milanović and First Lady Sanja Musić Milanović. 

The trio then reached the Presidential Palace, where the President and First Lady offered an opening dinner for the congress. 

On 10 May, Queen Letizia arrived at the conference and was welcomed, among others, by the WHO’s Regional Executive Director for Europe, the Croatian Minister of Health, and Zagreb’s Mayor. 

The Queen then sat down in the auditorium to listen to the inaugural session of the morning, during which there were interventions from the Mayor of Zagreb, the Croatian Health Minister, the WHO’s Regional Executive Director for Europe, and First Lady Sanja Musić Milanović. 

It was then time for Queen Letizia to offer a few words – a speech, delivered entirely in English, that marked the ending of the first session of the morning, with the Queen joking that “I’m the last speaker before coffee break, so please be patient, it will be less than five minutes.”

Her Majesty then highlighted the complexity that lies at the base of the obesity issue, with current figures on an increasing curve, saying in part: “Obesity is both a complex multifactorial disease, in its own right, and a risk factor for many other diseases that affect multiple body systems and also leaves behind a difficult-to-erase metabolic and psychological footprint.”

During the much-awaited coffee break, Queen Letizia took the time to tour the exhibition “Doctor Andrija Štampar.” 

The second session of the morning, titled “Prevention and control of childhood obesity: challenges, successes, innovations and priorities,” had more of a concrete focus on the issue of childhood obesity, and in it, consorts of all heads of state and government present (Albania, Armenia, Hungary, Kirghizistan, Latvia, Marta, Serbia and Slovenia) debated potential strategies to promote a heightened awareness about the risks connected with the issue. 

The speaking panels were concluded with the signature of the Zagreb Declaration on childhood obesity, which was debated and approved within the WHO’s European Regional Group after a debate among representatives of member states. 

Before heading back to Madrid, Queen Letizia held a meeting with the WHO’s Regional Executive Director for Europe, Mr Robb Butler, and took part in a cultural programme offered to attendants at the Congress on the Prevention of Childhood Obesity. 

Queen Letizia took part in this conference in her role as Special Ambassador for Nutrition of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation), an entity of the United Nations. 

The conference was organised in the context of the Summit of the Spouses of European Leaders by the WHO’s Regional Office for Europe in cooperation with the Croatian government, and especially First Lady Sanja Musić Milanović, who is a renowned expert in childhood obesity. 

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