Lived experiences of obesity heard in WHO Symposium | World Obesity Federation

Lived experiences of obesity heard in WHO Symposium

NewsLived experiences of obesity heard in WHO Symposium

Individuals from World Obesity Federation’s network of lived experience advocates participated in the WHO Symposium on Meaningful Engagement of people living with NCDs.

This is a forum for lived experience representatives to meet and make contributions to the direction of the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs, which will take place in September 2025.

The event, which took place virtually on 15 and 16 May, garnered perspectives from lived experience voices, with a view to shaping the HLM next year. According to WHO: “The Symposium convenes individuals with lived experience, through formally recognizing their knowledge and expertise in co-creating and co-implementing NCD policies, programmes, and services. The event series will offer a platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration and developing strategic inputs towards the upcoming 4HLM on NCDs.”

Mrs Dana Rosser, an author and advocate for better treatment and support for those living with obesity and their families, participated in the meeting, providing an obesity perspective.

She said: “For me, hearing other peoples’ stories and struggles with NCDs really put a fire in me to be even more active and resilient to make a change in my local community. Hearing how women are treated in Africa because of their diabetes diagnosis was heart-wrenching, or hearing that many do not want to come forward because they face being ostracized for a disease they can’t help. It was eye opening.”

Speaking about the obesity situation in her own country, she stated, “It reminded me how those who suffer with obesity are stigmatized and cast out because of the lack of knowledge associated with people not knowing that obesity is a DISEASE, instead of a character flaw”, adding: “We most certainly have a lot of work to do and I’m here for it. I was so happy to share my journey and offered my book as a resource for family members in my situation. I really learned a lot and I was able to give my perspective in living and loving someone who’s affected by the disease of obesity.”

Read more about the Symposium, its aims and its role in the High Level Meeting on NCDs on the WHO page.

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