European Obesity Day organisers call for greater focus on the issue
The organisers behind European Obesity Day have called for obesity to be recognised as a chronic disease by the European Union and individual member states.
Set up in 2010, European Obesity Day is organised by the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), which counts doctors and other health professionals, scientists and public health care officials as its members, among others.
The day, this year taking place on May 21, is designed to draw attention to the rising problem of obesity and its many associated health concerns, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
EASO President professor Hermann Toplak said: “Obesity is a complex and chronic disease with numerous causes, many of which are beyond an individual’s control.
“A healthier lifestyle can help maintain a normal weight. However, obesity is a chronic disease and should be recognised and treated as such. Accepting and supporting people with obesity will help them seek the help and treatment they need.”
EASO encourages people across Europe to get involved, with suggested activities and initiatives ranging from talking part in a run or walk with friends or colleagues, serving fruit and water at work instead of tea, coffee and biscuits and promoting European Obesity Day on social media.
Activities at past events include media roundtable discussions, fitness sessions, the distribution of information leaflets, city-centre education sessions, BMI testing and free distribution of fruit and vegetables.
Professor Toplak said: “National policies should encourage and provide opportunities for greater physical activity, and improve the affordability, availability and accessibility of healthy foods.
"They should also encourage the involvement of different government sectors, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders.” The 2016 European Obesity Day is held under the theme of Action for a Healthier Future.