Crux by the Sea

World Obesity Day: Stigma and Neglect at the Crux

Marking World Obesity Day, leaders from all over the world took a moment yesterday to reflect. Stigma and neglect amplify the threat of obesity to global public health. For decades now, efforts have gone into amping up the problem. But little has gone into real solutions. Prevention receives lip service. Presumptions about what should work often carry the day. For those affected, obesity care is inadequate. So the problem has grown and spread around the world.

United to Turn the Tide

Fortunately, we see the beginnings of a more coherent, unified approach. Until now, efforts all over the world have been a bit fragmented. Different organizations in different parts of the world all had different – and sometimes dissonant – campaigns. Though local needs will differ, we definitely don’t need the dissonance. So beginning on March 4 in 2020, this will change. Major obesity organizations from every part of the world will join to mark World Obesity Day. Writing in Lancet Public Health, ten diverse leaders explained:

As we celebrate a new unified World Obesity Day (from 2020, March 4), we share a collective responsibility to identify obesity and stigma as the crux of the matter, a central driver of the world’s NCD burden, and to take a central role in reshaping the narrative, placing people with obesity at the centre of our policies and practices.

Putting People with Obesity First

Putting people with obesity first in efforts to reverse this problem is no small accomplishment. The leaders come from quite a global collection of organizations:

Asia Oceania Association for the Study of Obesity, European Association for the Study of Obesity, Healthy Caribbean Coalition, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública of Mexico, Obesity Action Coalition, Obesity Canada, Obesity Medicine Association, Public Health Foundation of India, The Obesity Society, and World Obesity Federation.

We salute them and you can be sure that more organizations will join the effort as the day draws nearer. These leaders are absolutely correct to say:

The extent and gravity of the obesity crisis is, unfortunately, matched only by the neglect and stigma faced by people with obesity.

Thanks to them and a global network of advocates this situation is rapidly changing for the better.

For their full commentary click here and then here for more on World Obesity Day 2020.

Crux by the Sea, photograph © Luis Argerich / flickr

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October 12, 2019