Cloudy Earth

Today Is World Obesity Day.
Does Anyone Care About Finding a Cure?

World Obesity Day 2016On this World Obesity Day, the World Obesity Federation is calling for government action to end childhood obesity. The call to action is threefold:

  1. Governments need to strengthen their leadership to prevent, manage, and treat childhood obesity with national childhood obesity strategies.
  2. Local services need to take action to prevent childhood obesity.
  3. Health services must take action to manage childhood obesity.

Broadly speaking, these three priorities provide a very fine blueprint for short-term action. The emphasis on providing better pathways to care for children with obesity is particularly encouraging to see.

And certainly the idea of ending childhood obesity is a high aspiration. But a yawning gap must be closed between that vague aspiration and the rather modest goals of doing more to prevent, manage, and treat obesity.

Behind a rallying cry of “Silence=Death,” Act Up inspired AIDS activists all over the world to demand a cure. Friends, families, and survivors Race for the Cure to breast cancer.

But in obesity, imagination seems to fail us. The words of Julia Belluz, a very thoughtful health reporter, recently brought this failure into sharp focus:

Diets and medications work for some people whose health is compromised by their weight, but they fail most. Bariatric surgeries offer hope, but they come with real risks. So experts say fighting obesity really means preventing it, long before a person becomes a patient.

The implication of those words is that people with obesity are simply lost souls. Nothing to be done.

We disagree most vehemently.

We need more ambitious research agenda to deliver a deep and broad understanding of this disease. We need to demand prevention strategies that actually work in the real world. We need treatments that reliably stop and reverse this disease.

Nothing less will do.

Click here for more on World Obesity Day.

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October 11, 2016

One Response to “Today Is World Obesity Day.
Does Anyone Care About Finding a Cure?”

  1. October 11, 2016 at 5:22 pm, Allen Browne said:


    We need to get serious about treatment of obesity in children. We need to fill the gap between healthy living and bariatric surgery. The tools are there – over 20 weight loss devices and at least 6 weigh loss medications – but the studies on how to use them in children with obesity are rare. The tools are there, the need is there, we need to develop the will and get the medical community, the government ( NIH, FDA, CDC), and industry to form a new paradigm for pediatric wight management medicines and devices to be developed. Spending money on techniques that already have been shown to have meager results, allowing the NIH and FDA to wait for action, and allowing the industry to study children at their leisure amounts to writing off a generation of children with obesity. Oodles of money for Zika and none for childhood obesity – sometimes we have things backwards.