The warning, from the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), comes in the wake of several reports showing that obesity and overweightness continue to increase at an alarming rate and will affect more than half of all European citizens by 2030. In some countries it may be as high as 90%.
EASO, and its member associations in 32 countries in Europe, will be staging various events to draw attention to the situation and to create greater awareness and understanding of obesity as part of the activities for European Obesity Day this Saturday (21 May).
According to World Health Organisation, obesity is one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century. Its prevalence has tripled in many countries in Europe since the 1980s.
It is now costing European countries more than €70 billion in healthcare and lost productivity.
Two reports in the medical journal, the Lancet[i], have also highlighted the sheer magnitude of the global obesity epidemic and have highlighted a huge rise in type 2 diabetes as a result.
Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain forms of cancer, are among a number of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that are all a greater risk to people with excess weight.
European Obesity Day will highlight the growing epidemic
European Obesity Day is organised annually by the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) to bring people together and to increase knowledge about obesity and the many other diseases on which it impacts.
Other major disease organisations, including those related to Cancer, Diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension, diet and liver disease are also taking part to highlight the dangers that overweight and obesity causes to those diseases too.
As well as events on the day itself, many of the EASO National Associations have also been organising various initiatives over recent weeks.
These have included public awareness campaigns throughout France and Spain; lectures on the importance of fresh food and vegetables for school children and symposia in medical universities in Bulgaria; public events to measure key health indicators in Bratislava, Trnava and Kosice in Slovakia; Presentations and discussions in the Parliament and at regional level in Italy; and numerous obesity advice initiatives with the media around Europe.
In line with the theme for European Obesity Day 2016, Action for a Healthier Future, people across all EU member states are being encouraged to participate.
At a European level, EASO has expressed its support for a Written Declaration that has been initiated in the European Parliament. It calls for greater recognition of obesity as a disease by EU Member States.
“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.
Further details of how to support European Obesity Day and where to find more information on obesity, and obesity prevention and treatment, are available on the European Obesity Day website: www.europeanobesityday.eu. Activities can also be followed on Twitter (@EOD2016 and #EOD2016) and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EObesityD/
For further information
Please see the European Obesity Day website: www.europeanobesityday.eu; the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) www.easo.org; and the World Health Organisation www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/obesity.
Details of country activities are also highlighted on the website www.europeanobesityday.eu
[i] Trends in adult body-mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: a pooled analysis of 1698 population-based measurement studies with 19·2 million participants. The Lancet, Volume 387, No. 10026, p1377–1396, 2 April 2016 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)30054-X/abstract
Worldwide trends in diabetes since 1980: a pooled analysis of 751 population-based studies with 4·4 million participants, The Lancet Volume 387, No. 10027, p1513–1530, 9 April 2016 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)00618-8/abstract