WHO's new plan to combat obesity in Europe

WHO’s new plan to combat obesity in Europe

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A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights the importance of structural factors of obesity. James Ross / Stocky
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new report describing the lack of progress in controlling the rising rates of overweight and obesity across Europe.
  • No European countries are on track to meet the obesity goals set by the World Health Organization in 2015, according to the report.
  • The organization suggests addressing societal factors that undermine healthy nutrition.

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) established Goal To halt the rising rates of obesity as part of their efforts to contain the number of deaths from non-communicable diseases by 2025. According to the World Health Organization’s 2022 Regional Obesity Report, not one of the 53 countries in the European region is currently on track to achieve this goal.

The World Health Organization has released a plan to accelerate progress towards reducing obesity that places less burden on an individual to maintain healthy eating habits.

In a press release announcing the report, the World Health Organization stated:

“The new WHO report demonstrates how policy interventions that target the environmental and commercial determinants of poor diets at the whole population level are likely to be most effective in reversing the obesity epidemic, addressing dietary inequalities, and achieving environmentally sustainable diets.”

Joshua Pettimar, a research scientist in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, said, Medical news todayImproving nutrition and health requires us to shift our focus from ‘personal responsibility’ to broader community-wide solutions.

Eating behaviors are negatively influenced by many macroscopic factors, such as industry predatory practices, poor food access, unaffordability of healthy foods, and others. Proposed solutions that focus on individual responsibility without targeting societal factors do not address the underlying threats to population nutrition and health.”

The report found that barriers to implementing effective obesity policies include the “persistent narrative that tackling obesity is the responsibility of the individual, rather than the responsibility of the broader community, including governments.”

Arthur Delcourta registered dietitian and biomedical scientist at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, comments on the report via TwitterSaying, “Very sad to notice that obesity [continues its] The epidemic spread all over the world. According to the new report of the World Health Organization, 25% of European citizens [have obesity]…it is a major failure of politicians, public health organizations, medical staff and researchers. “

In the press release, the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr. Hans-Henri B. Cluj, On the globalization of the growing obesity:

“Obesity knows no borders. In Europe and Central Asia, no single country will achieve the WHO’s global non-communicable disease goal of halting the rise in obesity. Countries in our region are incredibly diverse, but each country faces challenges to some extent.”

“By creating more enabling environments, encouraging investment and innovation in health, and developing robust and resilient health systems, we can change the trajectory of obesity in the Region.”

The report found that 59% of adults in Europe are overweight or obese. Among children, 29% of boys and 27% of girls qualify as obese.

The problem has been exacerbated during the pandemic, according to research cited by the World Health Organization, which has led to a sharp increase in rates of overweight and obesity.

The World Health Organization estimates that overweight and obesity are responsible for more than 13% of deaths – 1.2 million – in the region annually. They are also thought to be the main behavioral factors behind disability, causing 7% of cases.

Obesity has been linked to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease. With obesity linked to 13 types of cancer, the World Health Organization considers it “directly responsible” for at least 200,000 new cancer cases each year.

For countries that fund national healthcare, obesity is also expensive, directly consuming up to 8% of total health costs in EU countries in 2014. The WHO also cites research that found that treating obese people costs 30% % more than people who are not obese.

The World Health Organization proposes a holistic approach to creating a culture that encourages healthy eating, and has announced a set of policies:

  • “[T]Implementing financial interventions (such as taxing sugar-sweetened beverages or subsidizing healthy foods)
  • Restrictions on marketing unhealthy foods to children
  • Improving access to obesity and overweight management services in primary health care, as part of universal health coverage
  • Efforts to improve diet and physical activity throughout life, including preconception and pregnancy care, breastfeeding promotion, school interventions, and interventions to create environments that improve access to, affordability of healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity.”

“The WHO Europe Obesity Report confirms that high-level political commitment is critical in supporting national policies on obesity, which will help support health system resilience.”

– The European Association for the Study of Obesityvia Twitter

The World Health Organization addresses the importance of countries mobilizing political will to solve the obesity epidemic, saying:

Any national policies aimed at addressing the issues of overweight and obesity must have a high-level political commitment behind them. It must also be inclusive, reaching individuals throughout life and targeting inequality.”

“Efforts to prevent obesity must take into account the broader determinants of disease, and policy choices must move away from approaches that focus on individuals and address the structural drivers of obesity.”



2022-05-12 16:50:53

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