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A Global View of Obesity Emerging in Porto

At ECO2017 this week, it’s been unmistakable. A global view of obesity is emerging. In a report published Friday, the U.S. is once again number one in the world for obesity prevalence. Back in 2013, the United Nations said Mexico temporarily slipped ahead of the U.S. in this dubious distinction. But the latest comparative report from the OECD puts the U.S. back on top.

WHO Viewing Obesity as a Chronic Disease

Steady gains in obesity prevalence from the OECD report are not encouraging. Echoes of that growing prevalence are unfolding around the world. But what really is encouraging is the emerging consensus that obesity is a chronic disease and it must be addressed as such.

In the opening plenary of ECO2017 this week, Joao Breda presented the World Health Organization’s view of obesity as a chronic disease. He emphasized patient centeredness as an key principle for addressing the disease. He described the importance of both prevention and treatment. And he called out the need to address stigma and bias.

In sync with this view, the World Obesity Federation recently affirmed that obesity is a chronic, relapsing, progressive disease.

European Obesity Day 2017

And finally, closing this week of ECO2017, the host organization – EASO – is marking European Obesity Day with a call for attention to treatment, prevention, and confronting the stigma of obesity. Too often, these three dimensions of obesity have been seen in conflict.

But in truth, all three dimensions need attention before the health impact of obesity will recede.

Click here for more on European Obesity Day 2017.

Porto Shop Window, photograph © Ted Kyle

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May 20, 2017