Let's talk differently about obesity | World Obesity Federation

Let’s talk differently about obesity

NewsLet's talk differently about obesity

4 March 2024

To mark World Obesity Day 2024, Kent Buse and the World Obesity Federation argue that it is time to fundamentally shift the narrative on obesity to tackle this major global crisis.

An opinion piece was published in the The BMJ today, where the authors call for the world to be talking about obesity differently.

One of the pillar's of the 2024 World Obesity Day theme is 'Let’s talk about obesity and ... our world'. The authors bring to our attention that obesity and overweight will affect half of the world’s population by 2035, yet remain misunderstood as chronic diseases, whose incidence is increasing, including at ever younger ages. Overweight and obesity are currently leading causes of preventable death and disability - not least through their contribution to major non communicable diseases, including type II diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, and cancers.

As the newly released World Obesity Federation Atlas 2024 reveals, obesity is global, affecting rich and poor countries alike. 

Some of the critial issues that the article addesses are:

  • the need to end practices that stigmatise people living with or at risk of obesity or overweight – which itself leads to weight gain. This requires raising awareness about weight stigma and using people-first language.
  • the importance of talking frankly about the drivers of obesity. To date there has been too much emphasis on the agency of people to “eat less, move more” and too little on the obesogenic environments we increasingly live, work, and play in.
  • the need to have conversations about food systems and how to transform them through evidence-informed policy.

The authors call on goverments and institutions to take action in the form of high-level meetings, integrating obesity into negotiations on relevant forums, and engaging meaningfully with people living with obesity. They ask consumers and civil society to support initiatives aimed at transforming the food and health systems that have driven and exacerbated the obesity pandemic. And they encourage people living with obesity to share their perspectives and engage in advocacy efforts to demand changes in public policy, commercial behaviour, and healthcare access.

See below for the link to the full article.

This article was authored by Kent Buse, Director, Healthier Societies Program, The George Institute for Global Health, and Chair of World Obesity's Policy and Prevention Committee, Johanna Ralston, CEO of the World Obesity Federation, and Simón Barquera, Director, Nutrition and Health Research Center, National Institute of Public Health, Mexico and World Obesity's President Elect.

Read the full article

Click here to read the full article published in the BMJ.

Read the full article

About World Obesity Day

World Obesity Day is a unified day of action that calls for a cohesive, cross-sector response to the obesity crisis. It takes place annually on 4 March and is convened by the World Obesity Federation in collaboration with its global members. Hundreds of individuals, oganisations and alliances contribute to World Obesity Day every year, engaging hundreds of thousands of people across the world.