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European Obesity Day

European Obesity Day heightens awareness of bariatric surgery

more than 30 National Obesity Associations in Europe and more than 70 EASO collaborating centres participated with initiatives ranging from press briefings and seminars, to public health checks, social media campaigns, and weight awareness events

European Obesity Day 2016, which took place on May 21, has helped to considerably increase awareness of obesity and the benefits of bariatric surgery. The annual event, which takes place on the third Saturday in May, is organised by the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) to bring people together to raise awareness and increase knowledge about obesity and the many other diseases on which it impacts.

This year, more than 30 National Obesity Associations in Europe and more than 70 EASO collaborating centres participated with initiatives ranging from press briefings and seminars, to public health checks, social media campaigns, and weight awareness events.

One of the most important aspects has been providing a platform to engage politicians and policymakers at both EU and Member State level.

Medtronic, one of the two main supporters of EOD, also engaged its local European country organisations to stage initiatives of their own which once again has made significant impact on the perception of obesity as a disease and bariatric surgery as a safe and effective treatment option.

The European Commission, Members of the European Parliament, WHO, and the OECD all participated in a series of EASO round table discussions organised in the run up to European Obesity Day (EOD). Insurers/payers and representatives of doctors, nursing and surgery organisations also took part.

As the direct result of these round tables, the participating associations representing diseases associated with obesity – including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, diet and liver disease – agreed to form an informal alliance and to develop a joint consensus statement. In turn, this led to a Written Declaration being tabled in the European Parliament calling  for the European Commission and Member States to work towards a harmonised Europe-wide recognition of obesity as a chronic disease.

Welcome News

If the Declaration is signed by at least 376 MEPs before its 7 July deadline it will be welcome news for obesity patients as well as for those who provide treatment. Wider recognition of obesity as a chronic disease would mean Member States making greater funding and resources available.

At an EU Member State level, several of the national obesity associations held awareness raising events in their own parliaments and with local authorities.

On a broader level, European obesity day also provides a platform from which to deliver information to the general public, health practitioners, pharmacists and to the media.

The main portal is an EOD website: www.europeanobesityday.eu. It has several sections for different audiences and includes information on prevention as well as treatment and weight loss surgery.  There is a selection of fact sheets and infographics that can be downloaded and which will be further expanded before EOD 2017.

There is also a Twitter Channel (@EOD2016 and #EOD2016) and a Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/EObesityD/

References

Infographics source: Weight Loss Surgery in the EU – in Numbers (Medtronic)

iii   OECD Obesity update 2014: www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Obesity-Update-2014.pdf

viii  The University of Reading (UK), Research and Enterprise Services; European Commission Eatwell Report: http://cordis.europa.eu/result/rcn/53206_en.htm

x    L. Webber, D. Divajeva, T. Marsh et al, ‘The future burden of obesityrelated diseases in the 53 WHO European-Region countries and the impact of effective interventions: a modelling study’, BMJ Open (2014) 4(7): http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/4/7/e004787.full

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