European plan to put obesity on governments' health agenda

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 12 June 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1574
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. BMJ

    European obesity specialists have agreed an initiative calling for action from their governments to tackle the rising epidemic of obesity in many countries.

    The European Association for the Study of Obesity—which includes clinicians and scientists —announced a series of recommendations for putting obesity on governments' agendas at its annual conference last week in Milan, Italy. Members agreed to work with governments to implement measures to improve the management and prevention of obesity and to increase public awareness of diet and physical activity.

    Launching the initiative, Japp Seidell, president of the association, commented: “This is the first effort to take action on obesity in Europe. We are not sure where it will lead, but the first step is to achieve a fundamental change in the way we think about obesity.”

    The initiative is designed to overcome the current lack of effort on obesity. “In most European countries obesity is not seen as a priority—the cost of managing patients is often not reimbursed,” pointed out Professor Seidell. The plan has been signed by the national organisations for obesity from 24 European countries. It calls for governments to recognise that obesity is a major cause of ill health which poses a high social and economic burden; to begin the process of developing comprehensive national and European strategies for action on obesity; to support research into overweight and obesity that will inform improved prevention and management; and to increase the provision of health services with professional staff qualified to treat obesity.

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    Rise in obesity in Europe: specialists want government action

    (Credit: BLAIR SEITZ/SPL)

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