Commercial determinants of obesity

Obesity is a complex disease triggered by interlinking causes, from genetics to dysfunctional food systems, to social deprivation. Despite these complexities, most of the current public discourse is simplistic, centres on the ‘eat less, move more’ mantra and places the blame solely on the individual.

A core value of World Obesity Federation is that obesity prevention efforts should not just be targeted at individual actions but at wider commercial and societal determinants.  

World Obesity Federation supports the World Health Organisation ‘Best Buy’ policies, with a particular emphasis on those policies which address the commercial determinants of health. We encourage policy-makers around the world to consider population-based regulatory and fiscal measures should be prioritised, including:

  • restrictions of the marketing foods and drinks to children
  • taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages
  • front of pack labelling
  • limiting portion and package size
  • access to safe space for physical activity

Fiscal interventions, such as taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages, will be a valuable tool as these are win-win interventions which promote health and support the financing of further NCD activities.

World Obesity also firmly advocates for political leaders ensuring that adequate steps are taken to protect policy-making from industry interference and opposition to the implementation of such policies.