A day to recognize the impact of obesity worldwide and to learn ways to work together to help people live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
Today, March 4th, is designated World Obesity Day by the World Obesity Federation. The mission of World Obesity Day is to increase awareness, decrease stigma, encourage advocacy, improve policies, and share experiences around obesity and obesity prevention.
Once viewed as a problem for only the most developed countries, obesity rates are increasing on every continent, with the largest increases now taking place in South Asia and parts of Africa – areas where there was previously minimal prevalence. Even more concerning, it’s not just adult obesity rising on every continent but childhood obesity too. At present, no country stands a chance of reaching its 2025 obesity stabilization or reduction targets. The World Obesity Federation shares some startling figures: 1) around the world, 800 million people are living with obesity; 2) the medical consequences of obesity will cost over $1 trillion by 2025; 3) people living with obesity are twice as likely to be hospitalized if they test positive for COVID-19 and 4) childhood obesity is expected to increase by 60% over the next decade, reaching 250 million children worldwide by 2030.
The objectives of World Obesity Day can be broken down into two parts. The first is to define what obesity is, identify its root causes, and learn how we can prevent this disease that contributes to so many dangerous health problems. The second part of this day is to stop the stigma, improve obesity care, and to share stories with others to become advocates. World Obesity Day is a day to recognize the movement that has begun. The movement puts an emphasis on policymakers to reduce the influence of obesogenetic (or environments that have adverse effects on nutrition and physical activity) environments and encourages them to accept obesity as a disease, remove the shame of the disease, and help more people receive the needed care.
Go here to access fact sheets available in multiple languages to learn more. Go here to find resources for healthcare professionals and here for employer resources. The National Institutes of Health has resources to help understand how important it is to destigmatize obesity – to improve both mental health and access to treatment.
While World Obesity Day can draw attention to this important issue, obesity is a disease that should be talked about and addressed every day to improve lives. The CDC has robust pages for schools, child cares, healthcare providers, employers, and families. Jump IN’s Resource Hub also has a library of resources in both English and Spanish for all different sectors, from families to after school programs. World Obesity Day reminds us that obesity is a global problem that requires collaboration and partnership to solve. We are in this together.
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