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NewsBLOG | World Obesity Day in Focus

World Obesity Day in Focus


Author: Professor Walmir Coutinho 


President of World Obesity, Full Professor of Endocrinology at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Vice-Director of the Post-Graduation Medical School.

Since taking over the Presidency of World Obesity Federation in 2014, I have endeavoured to use my experience and expertise to further the organisations mission to lead and drive global efforts to reduce, prevent and treat obesity.

You always want to leave something greater than you found, create a lasting legacy that will truly benefit people and make inroads on the global obesity epidemic. 

In my home country, Brazil, over the last 30 years obesity rates have increased nearly 6 fold in men from 2.1 – 12.5% and nearly tripled in women from 6-16.9%. When you take into consideration WHO’s 2025 global targets and the recent Global Nutrition Report, things are only going to get worse and not just in Brazil, but in most other countries around the world.

This is why today, the first World Obesity Day, is so important. Not just for me, but to the global community.

World Obesity Day is a new opportunity to bring people together to raise awareness, increase knowledge and share solutions to help us overcome obesity. 

In essence, this is at the core of what World Obesity stands for.

  • Evidence – we ensure everything we do is informed by the best available knowledge
  • Collaboration – we work with partners to achieve more
  • Innovation – we look for new and better ways to solve the obesity crisis
  • Action – we turn research into workable solutions that bring around change

Everyone at World Obesity has been working tirelessly to ensure that everything needed to stimulate and support practical actions that will help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight and reverse the global obesity crisis, has been done. As a result of the work, there was a fantastic article in The Guardian which was covered on the front page of the UK newspapers yesterday.

Our Director of Policy, Dr Tim Lobstein, has written two very interesting articles. One on 'Child malnutrition in the 21st Century' for the Global Nutrition Report and also 'How will the World Health Assembly meet its 2025 targets?' for the International Diabetes Federation's (IDF).

There is a marvellous suite of resources, created by our Head of Advocacy and Public Affairs, Hannah Brinsden, which range from an in-depth toolkit, a template press release and letter to health ministers, through to a host of infographics, translations and social media support. All of which accompanies the new data and maps that have been put together by our Research and Information Manager, Rachel Jackson Leach and Policy Researcher, Fiona Montague. 

Our Executive Director, Chris Trimmer is attending IMEX America and has been working with the exhibition hosts to incorporate ‘healthy behaviour nudges’ into the programme in alignment with the criteria identified within the new Healthy Venues Accreditation programme launching on World Obesity Day. Something that our Head of Events, Natasha Joyner, Events Assistant, Isabel Brinsden and Education Manager, Mohamad Qutub have been championing with our recent SCOPE Schools in Thessaloniki and Doha.

Mohamad has also been working with World Cancer Research Fund International on the creation of a new SCOPE module, 'Obesity and Cancer'. We are extremely plesed with this colaboration and wanted to offer a free sample of this module for World Obesity Day, before the full launch later this month.

World Obesity Day will be held annually on the 11th October. I hope associations, organisations and individuals around the world will stand together to help overcome one of the biggest health challenges faced today..... we all have a role to play and we must all act now!