Today as members of the newly-formed coalition the Obesity Policy Engagement Network (OPEN)-EU, we are proud to be launching a new call to action for a different EU-level approach to reduce the prevalence and impact of obesity in the European Union (EU).
To address the obesity crisis, OPEN EU (a coalition of key EU experts, policy and decision makers) outlines its call to action the priority actions needed to improve the treatment and management of obesity. These actions* are based on four critical focus areas calling for:
- Recognition that obesity is a chronic relapsing disease that requires shared responsibility
- Allocation of healthcare resources to secure funding for care
- Improved education for relevant professions, to support more effective, informed care
- Access to specialist, multidisciplinary care for people with obesity
Euan Woodward, Executive Director of EASO, a founding member of OPEN, said: “Over the past decade, scientific and medical communities – as well as international organisations like the World Health Organization – have increasingly recognised obesity as a multifactorial chronic disease requiring long-term management. However, this understanding has not yet informed policy making. Indeed, the misconception that obesity is a lifestyle choice rather than a disease with multiple complex causes is one of the biggest barriers to addressing obesity.
“The success of OPEN relies on multi-disciplinary partnership. No one voice has the answer to the complex problems of obesity and overweight. OPEN EU will facilitate dialogue between patient representatives, public health professionals, policymakers, civil society and industry to ensure all voices are heard.”
Obesity in Europe
In Europe obesity prevalence has tripled since 1980[i]. Overweight reduces the gross domestic product by 3.3%. If obesity incidence continues at the current rate, from 2020 to 2050 OECD countries are estimated to spend 8.4 % of their health budget on treating the consequences of obesity and overweight[ii].
*The EU Obesity Policy Engagement Network Call to Action: Changing The Status Quo in Obesity
[i] E. Pineda at al. 2018. Obesity Facts: 11: 360-371
[ii] OECD. 2019. OECD Health Policy Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/67450d67-en.