On 15 June, Instituto Cordial, coordinators of the Brazilian Panel on Obesity, held the Webinar 'Scenario of obesity in Brazil: challenges and perspectives' and launched the Portuguese version of the World Obesity Atlas 2023.
In the first session, World Obesity's Head of Policy, Magdalena Wetzel, and Data and Evidence Manager, Jaynaide Powis, presented on the global landscape. Thereafter, Guilherme Nafalski, Cordial’s Coordinator of Health Projects, presented the Brazillian obesity landscape and the efforts that are being made to reduce the prevalence and to improve the quality of life of people living with obesity.
In the second session, Luis Fernando Villaça Meyer, Cordial’s Director of Operations, and Doralice Ramos, Cordial Articulator, coordinated a debate on 'Intersectoriality for planning and acting on obesity prevention and management'. Participants in this debate included Kelly Alves, General Coordinator of Food and Nutrition in the Ministry of Health, Dr Benjamin de Oliveira, National Deputy, and Marília Albiero from ACT Health Promotion, an international civil society organisation.
Key extracts from the discussions:
“The WHO acceleration plan brings policies to implement recommendations in 'frontrunner countries', that is, it is the action in 28 countries that, in addition to strengthening the implementation of the recommendations made by the WHO in other countries, is focused on meeting goals. It was approved in the World Health Assembly in 2022 and is built around a timeline that understands that the prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing.
Currently, the frontrunner countries are setting up an acceleration roadmap, carrying out an acceleration plan to execute this according to their priority areas. The World Obesity Federation is working with these countries and civil society to help support the plan's implementation through building coalitions and strengthening networks, and building precedent in their work.
On the map of frontrunner countries at the moment, Latin America has a very strong commitment. You don't just have Brazil and Mexico, but also Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and then Barbados, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago”.
“The integration of civil society, companies and the government are important. We, as parliamentarians, have this opportunity to open up the topic of obesity for discussion.
We have to act to create a program, as an effect with Hypertension and Diabetes, so that there is obesity monitoring, at least once a month, in the basic health units.
Today we know that several diseases are the result of obesity, both the medical society and other societies are looking for alternatives, but we need to expand this.”
“Intersectoriality is very important for the prevention and management of obesity, even more so when we look at the health-disease process from the perspective of the social and economic determinants of health.
We will have meetings with WHO supporters from the end of June [to talk about Stop Obesity].
Brazil points out, along with other countries, that food insecurity has different outcomes, such as malnutrition and lack of nutrients, as well as overweight and obesity, which have synergistic determinants, related to the living conditions of the Brazilian population.
Our ‘Stop Obesity’ plan is not just a plan to stop obesity, but a plan to improve the living conditions of the Brazilian population, which can have a positive impact on multiple forms of malnutrition. 'Brazil Without Hunger' will have repercussions on the deceleration of obesity.”
“Brazil has the possibility of being a good frontrunner, as it has a unique and universal health system and an extremely widespread family health program. We need obesity to be in that system. Obesity needs to be taken seriously.”
“We hope to have discussions that are always widely articulated and it is very important that all public and private actors be engaged in the obesity agenda in Brazil. It is a challenge that has been growing in recent years and more public and private actors are appearing in the ecosystem and also bringing the voice of the person with obesity.”
“The intersectoriality is already a consensus of a practice that should already happen, because obesity goes from prevention to treatment, from the global level to the municipal level, it takes an individual issue and also systemic issues. Therefore, obesity is complex, multidisciplinary and multifactorial.
The role of civil society is very catalytic, which is the case with tax reform and the taxation of sugary drinks. Civil society organises awareness campaigns on the topic, mass media, production of evidence.
Society is an important piece, as it is a counterweight in the system.”