As per the WHO, the rates at which people are turning out to be overweight and obese in Europe could be termed as “epidemic proportions”. Almost 60% of the adults and 33% of children fall in the category of “obese” people as of now.
European office of the UN Health Agency has mentioned that adults herein are more prone to obesity, followed by Americas. Britain, Israel, Malta, and Turkey house maximum obese patients. The WHO has gone on records to state that obesity or being overweight accounts for over 1 Mn fatalities every single year.
Scientists have been warning that being heavy does increase proximity of several diseases inclusive of respiratory conditions, 13 types of cancer, and diabetes. Furthermore, they are stating that it could also be one of the leading factors for disability.
As per Dr. Hans Kluge (WHO Europe Director), the obesity epidemic showed its true colors during the Covid-19 pandemic. He mentioned about his observation that obese people were at a greater risk of Covid-19, which included ICU admissions and fatalities.
Dr. Kluge has also stated a brutal fact that in the Central Asia and Europe, none of the countries would meet WHO Global NCD target of applying brakes on obesity. He also stated that creation of environments that foster more appealing innovation in health could alter obesity’s trajectory in these two regions.
Obesity – a disease or just a risk factor?
Obesity comes across as one of the complex diseases putting health at risk. The causes include many things, not just an amalgamation of physical inactivity and unhealthy diet. Environmental factors pertaining to that particular region also drive obesity. For instance – the way unhealthy foodstuff is marketed digitally, especially to the students’ population. At the same time, the fact that the same digital platforms could be used for providing opportunities to promote and discuss well-being can’t be ignored.
European Programme of Work doled out by the WHO looks for “Sustainable Development Goals” in this regard. The time span is 2020-2025. The commercial and environmental determinants of unhealthy diet will be the prime area of focus. WHO believes that efforts in this direction would reverse obesity epidemic, thereby taking care of dietary inequalities and allow a safe passage for environmentally sustainable food systems.
WHO’s Europe office has taken an utmost care of the fact that issues of obesity and being overweight should be having commitment of the highest level behind them. In other words, they need to be comprehendible, thereby reaching the people all through the life course.
Some of these policies include –
- Implementing fiscal interventions (like taxation on the sugar-sweetened beverages or even providing subsidies on healthy foodstuff)
- Limited marketing of the unhealthy foodstuff for children
- Primary healthcare to be inclusive of access to overweight and obesity management services, as an inevitable part of the universal health coverage
- Promoting breastfeeding, pregnancy care, and also school-based interventions
In a nutshell, WHO’s Europe office is all set to take the issue of obesity to a “high”, so that people first realize the ill-effects and then be proactive in weight loss measures.