European Obesity Day is organised by the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) in conjunction with its 32 member associations in 32 countries. As well as events on the day itself, various initiatives will be taking place throughout Europe during the month beforehand.
Other major disease organisations, including those related to Cancer, Diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension, diet and liver disease will also be taking part to highlight the dangers that overweight and obesity causes to those diseases too.
Last year, EASO published the findings of a survey among 14,000 members of the public in seven European countries, showing that the majority of people underestimate their own weight, misjudge the weight of others around them, and appear to have little knowledge of the consequences.
It also showed that the vast majority of people regard obesity as a problem purely of personal lifestyle, rather than recognising that there are other underlying issues which society needs to address.
“Obesity is a complex and chronic disease with numerous causes, many of which are beyond an individual’s control,” says EASO President, Professor Hermann Toplak. “The causes can range from genetic and endocrine conditions to environmental factors, such as stress, diet and increasingly sedentary working patterns.
“A healthier lifestyle, including a healthy diet and regular physical activity 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,” he said.
WHO says that both societies and governments need to act to curb the epidemic. “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.”
Professor Toplak agrees that Obesity has become a symptom of our rapidly changing society. “Individuals are vulnerable to changes in food production, processing and marketing and to changes in physical work and transportation. Many of these changes are linked to obesity so we should look out for and take action on changes in the wider society as well as for individuals,” he added.
Further details of how to support European Obesity Day are available on the European Obesity Day website: www.europeanobesityday.eu which went live today (24 March 2016). Activities can also be followed on Twitter (@EOD2016) and on Facebook (EuropeanObesityDay).
Source: European Association for the Study of Obesity